State of Michigan Seeks to Block Flint Water Deliveries

CHICAGO – Michigan state officials filed a motion to block a federal court order issued last week that required the immediate provision of bottled drinking water and filter installation and maintenance services to the people of Flint, who have been living without adequate access to safe drinking water for more than two years. The State’s action today seeks to delay implementation of Judge David Lawson’s ruling that the City of Flint and state officials must ensure every household in Flint has access to safe drinking water.

The State’s motion to stay was filed with the federal district court in Detroit. If the motion is denied, the State could appeal that decision to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The City of Flint did not join the stay motion filed by the State.

Following is a reaction from the Plaintiffs in the case:

“It’s sad that the State of Michigan continues to disenfranchise the community of Flint. What happened to Governor Snyder’s pledge that he would work to fix Flint’s drinking water crisis? This action today inflicts more harm on a city that’s already hurting” said Pastor Allen Overton with the Concerned Pastors for Social Action.

“The facts in this case are clear: the State is failing to deliver safe drinking water to the people of Flint. Seeking to delay the federal court order that the State immediately fix Flint’s water crisis is an obvious insult to the people of Flint, whose tap water has been contaminated with lead for more than two years,” said Henry Henderson, Midwest Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“The state’s decision to appeal is, quite frankly, callous. First, the state strips the people of Flint of the ability to govern themselves. Then it poisons their water supply, causing untold damage. Now, more than two years later, when a judge orders the state to comply federal law and deliver bottled water, the state does whatever it can to delay. It’s a national disgrace,” said Michael J. Steinberg, ACLU of Michigan Legal Director

More Information:

  • Last Thursday, a federal judge ordered the State and the City to ensure that every Flint household has safe drinking water. That means homes must receive bottled water delivery unless the government verifies, on a regular basis, that the home has a properly installed and maintained faucet filter, or the home declines delivery. More at:
  • Concerned Pastors for Social Action, Flint resident Melissa Mays, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the ACLU of Michigan filed their motion seeking home delivery of safe drinking water as part of a case brought under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.  More at:
  • Through the case, the plaintiffs are seeking to compel the City and state officials to follow federal requirements for testing and treating water to control for lead and to order the prompt replacement of all lead water pipes at no cost to Flint residents. More at:
  • The suit also seeks appropriate relief to remedy the health and medical harms to Flint residents from the lead contamination. The lawsuit is not seeking monetary damages.


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. The ACLU of Michigan was officially established in 1959 as part of that mission.

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