Rep. Phil Phelps, D-Flushing, says it took months for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to respond to his Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to the Flint water crisis. The department initially said the documents did not exist, but months later the lawmaker received tens of thousands of documents the agency had withheld.
Phelps sent a request in early September 2015 to the DEQ as well as the Michigan Department of Treasury and the city of Flint. Phelps said his FOIAs asked for any documents relating to officials knowing that Flint River water was safe for use before switching the city’s source from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the river. (Flint switched its water source to the Flint River in April 2014.)