Pollution

Snyder asks Obama for emergency declaration in water crisis

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has asked President Barack Obama to issue an emergency and major disaster declaration amid a drinking water crisis in Flint that began months ago.

Snyder's office said in a statement late Thursday night it had asked for the declarations and is seeking additional federal aid for both individuals and public agencies involved in the effort to provide Flint residents with clean drinking water.

Flint's tap water became contaminated with too much lead after the city switched its water supply in 2014 to save money while under state financial management. Local officials declared a public health emergency in October. Residents already are being urged to use drinking water filters, which are being distributed for free along with bottled water.

AP Photo

New Mexico is 1st to issue plans to sue EPA over mine spill

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico plans to sue the federal government and the owners of two Colorado mines that were the source of a massive spill last year that contaminated rivers in three Western states, officials said Thursday.

The New Mexico Environment Department said it filed a notice of its intention to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the spill, becoming the first to do so. The lawsuit also would target the state of Colorado and the owners of the Gold King and Sunnyside Mines.

An EPA cleanup crew accidentally unleashed millions of gallons of contaminated wastewater in August at the inactive Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado. It fouled rivers in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico with contaminants including arsenic and lead, temporarily shutting down drinking-water supplies and raising concerns about long-term effects to agriculture.

Volkswagen chief understands 'impatience' on emissions fix

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller says he has agreed with U.S. environmental officials not to publicly discuss the next steps in addressing the German automaker's emissions cheating scandal.

Mueller told The Associated Press after a speech to workers at Volkswagen's lone U.S. plant in Chattanooga on Thursday that he understands frustration in the pace of finding a fix.

In Mueller's words: "I am impatient, too. I'd also like a faster solution. But we have to proceed with care."

Renault shares plunge after anti-fraud raids over emissions

PARIS (AP) — Shares in Renault dived Thursday after French anti-fraud units conducted searches at the carmakers' facilities, prompted by the Volkswagen emissions scandal. They then recovered somewhat after the company said tests had not found any emissions-cheating software.

French media reports said the CGT Renault union released a tract Thursday describing raids on multiple sites focusing on engine monitoring. Soon afterward, the Renault share price sank 22 percent.

An official with the French Finance Ministry's anti-fraud unit said it had conducted raids on Renault last week but would not elaborate on why. The official was not authorized to be publicly named.

US and VW mum on meeting of leaders amid emissions scandal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Officials at Volkswagen and the U.S environmental monitor are keeping mum about whether any progress was made during a closed-door meeting on the German automaker's emissions cheating scandal.

VW global chief executive Matthias Mueller met Wednesday with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy in Washington. Both VW and the agency declined to provide further details, including how long the two spoke.

The meeting came a day after California air quality regulators rejected a recall plan proposed by VW for its most popular diesel models, and EPA backed the action.

Michigan National Guard, FEMA help Flint amid water crisis

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Members of the Michigan National Guard began arriving in Flint on Wednesday for briefings on the drinking water crisis, ahead of a larger contingent of Guardsmen who will help distribute bottled water, filters and other supplies to residents.

Gov. Rick Snyder had activated the National Guard late Tuesday, and Lt. Col. William Humes confirmed about a half-dozen representatives arrived Wednesday morning.

Flint's tap water became contaminated with too much lead after the city switched its water supply in 2014 to save money while under state financial management. Local officials first declared a public health emergency in October in response to tests that showed children with elevated levels of lead.

Snyder activates National Guard in Flint, seeks federal help

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder late Tuesday activated the Michigan National Guard to help distribute bottled water and filters in Flint and asked the federal government for help dealing with a drinking water crisis that began months ago.

Snyder's executive order triggering the Guard's deployment is intended to bolster outreach to residents, whose tap water became contaminated with too much lead after the city switched its water supply in 2014 to save money while under state financial management. Local officials first declared a public health emergency in Flint in October in response to tests that showed children with elevated levels of lead.

Since then, authorities have struggled to ensure residents have safe drinking water. People in Flint have been told not to drink the water until it is determined to be safe, and volunteers and police in recent days have been going door to door with bottled water, filters and lead test kits.

Door-to-door effort underway in Flint water crisis

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Volunteers and police carrying bottled water, filters and lead test kits knocked on doors in Flint on Tuesday, seeking to help residents in the Michigan city that's confronting a water crisis.

State troopers and sheriff's deputies escorted eight teams as they trudged through cold temperatures and 3 inches of snow, with more falling. Flyers were left at homes where no one answered, giving the location of where to pick up the items later.

"We plan to go every day this week and we'll continue until everyone has safe drinking water," state police Lt. Dave Kaiser said.

Swedish prosecutors launch Volkswagen emissions probe

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Swedish prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation related to the emissions scandal at German automaker Volkswagen.

Anti-corruption prosecutor Alf Johansson said Tuesday the investigation focuses on preliminary charges of fraud and using false documents. If found guilty, Volkswagen could face corporate fines.

The company first acknowledged in September that it used software to cheat on diesel emissions tests in the U.S. The software was included in its diesel cars and SUVs sold since the 2009 model year, as well as some recent diesel models sold by the VW-owned Audi and Porsche brands.

Snyder pledges contact with every Flint household

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — An apologetic Gov. Rick Snyder pledged Monday that officials would make contact with every household in Flint to check whether residents have bottled water and a filter and want to be tested for lead exposure while his embattled administration works on a long-term solution to the city's water crisis.

He also said he first clearly knew of Flint's lead problem around Oct. 1, when state health authorities confirmed elevated blood-lead levels in children that were detected by a local doctor. Exposure to lead can cause behavior problems and learning disabilities in children.

"This is a crisis. So we're responding appropriately. There's more work to be done," Snyder said during a news conference with state and local officials in Flint.

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