This afternoon, the Environmental Protection Agency accepted the resignation of Susan Hedman, who as Region 5 administrator oversaw the section of the country that includes Flint, Mich.
In a statement regarding Hedman’s resignation, the EPA said:
EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman has offered her resignation effective February 1, and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has accepted given Susan’s strong interest in ensuring that EPA Region 5's focus remains solely on the restoration of Flint’s drinking water.
In a statement given to Reuters earlier this week, the EPA accepted fault for the disaster in Flint while also pointing the finger at local and state government:
The environmental agency said Tuesday that “while EPA worked within the framework of the law to repeatedly and urgently communicate the steps the state needed to take to properly treat its water, those necessary (EPA) actions were not taken as quickly as they should have been.”
The U.S. environmental agency said its oversight was hampered “by failures and resistance at the state and local levels to work with us in a forthright, transparent and proactive manner.”
Hedman becomes the second bureaucrat to lose a job due to the all-encompassing negligence regarding Flint’s lead-poisoned water—Dan Wyant, who as director of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality oversaw botched tests of the water, resigned at the end of December.
These are small fish, though, and they figure not to quiet the calls for the heads of those at the very top, primarily Michigan governor Rick Snyder, whose potential resignation was invoked by Bernie Sanders at last weekend’s Democratic debate in South Carolina. Barack Obama has not gone quite that far yet, but in a CBS interview airing this weekend, he did not mince words in assessing the failure of government at all levels, calling Flint’s water crisis “inexplicable and inexcusable.”
Last night, Snyder’s office released what it says was every email sent and received by the governor regarding Flint’s water, though you won’t be surprised to find out that in no way do those self-released emails implicate the governor himself.
The first email in that batch of records was entirely blacked out, which would be funny except that, you know, it isn’t.
[photo of Flint River via AP]