Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has been charged with two misdemeanor charges of willful neglect of duty as part of the investigation into the Flint water crisis. Snyder pleaded not guilty to the charges, which carry a maximum punishment of up to one year in prison or a fine of no more than $1,000.
Snyder was governor in 2014 when state officials switched Flint's water supply from the Detroit Water System to the Flint River as a cost-saving measure. State regulators affirmed a decision not to treat the water to reduce corrosion, which resulted in lead leaching into the water supply from the city's old pipes, poisoning the water for nearly 100,000 people.
The Snyder administration did not take any action on the crisis for 18 months, as state officials brushed off concerns of residents, who complained of dirty, discolored water coming out of their faucets.
The contaminated water led to two outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease, which killed 12 people and sickened 90 others.
According to ClickOnDetroit, prosecutors allege that Snyder was warned about the danger of switching Flint's water supply a year before the decision was made.
Last year, the state agreed to a $600 million settlement to create a compensation fund for the victims of the water crisis.
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