Updated March 29, 9:55 a.m. EST:
Yesterday (March 28), U.S. District Judge David Lawson approved the $97 million settlement Michigan and the city of Flint proposed.
"In my view the settlement agreement is fair, adequate, reasonable and consistent with the public interest, and it furthers the objectives of the Safe Drinking Water Act," Lawson said from the bench, per The Detroit Free Press. "I believe it is in the best interest of the citizens of Flint and the citizens of the state of Michigan."
Defendants must also cover the plaintiffs’ litigation costs, totaling $895,000. Plaintiffs, on the other hand, didn’t secure the door-to-door water bottle delivery service for which they had hoped.
With that decision, the lawsuit, Concerned Pastors for Social Action et al v. Khouri et al, is dismissed.
Michigan and the city of Flint filed a proposed settlement in U.S. District Court yesterday (March 27) to require the state to pay for the city’s replacement of about 18,000 water service pipes by 2020. A federal judge will either approve or deny the settlement later today (March 28).
This is the latest move in a lawsuit several groups—including the ACLU of Michigan, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Concerned Pastors for Social Action—launched against the city and state on January 27, 2016, to secure safe drinking water for Flint.
The state agreed to pay $87 million, with another $10 million ready, in case more pipes need replacing, The Washington Post reports. A portion of that money—$30 million—will come from the $100 million Congress approved for Flint last year, which the city received March 17.
The proposed timeline looks to replace lines in at least 6,000 households by 2018, 12,000 by the following year and the remaining 6,000 in 2020.
“The proposed agreement is a significant step forward for the Flint community, covering a number of critical issues related to water safety,” said Dimple Chaudhary, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, to the Post. “It provides a comprehensive framework to address lead contamination in Flint’s tap water.”
The settlement also requires the state to continue bottled water deliveries to water distribution centers and residents who can’t leave their homes until early September.
(H/t The Washington Post, Fox)