Michigan Governor Rick Snyder declared Monday that he will drink Flint water at home and at work for at least a month to show that there has been progress in the water crisis.
Snyder visited the home of Flint, Michigan residents Cheryl Hill and Todd Canty that was confirmed to have high levels of lead. In an act of defiance, he left with five gallons of filtered water and said that the water was indeed drinkable.
For nearly two years, the state of Michigan has been rocked by the Flint water crisis. Allegations of government corruption have been aimed at Snyder and other high-ranking officials, and residents have taken legal action as a response.
Atlanta Black Star reported that residents have been filing lawsuits against the state since last fall. Some of those lawsuits have been aimed at government officials. However, many have been aimed at the engineering firm that advised the city of Flint to use water from the contaminated Flint river for the water treatment facility.
In February, Michigan residents gathered in the hundreds at the University of Michigan Flint campus to meet and speak with attorneys involved in the suits, in which damages could reach $1.25 billion, according to reports by The Guardian.
The tainted water supply has led to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, and residents who have drunk the water are reportedly suffering from long-term health issues, childhood behavior problems, and mental health issues.
According to Reuters, 12 people have died, including two just last week, from the Legionnaires’ outbreak. Reuters also reports that from 2014 to 2015 there were an estimated 90 cases of the disease.
However, Snyder is convinced that the water is drinkable.
“What better way to help show support,” said Snyder, who will get refills from other homes as needed.
Snyder has urged residents to drink the water as long as a filter is in place, even though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recommended that residents use bottled water.
The EPA also recommends that children under the age of 6 and pregnant or breastfeeding women do not take the governor’s advice.