Judge approves $626 million Flint water settlement
A federal judge on Wednesday signed off on a $626 million settlement for people who were exposed to lead-contaminated water in Flint, Michigan.
Driving the news: The terms will see nearly 80% of the settlement go to children who were younger than 18 when they were first exposed to the contaminated water.
- People who paid water bills and adults who ingested the water are eligible. Certain businesses that underwent economic losses due to the crisis can also make settlement claims.
- Most of the money will come from the state. The settlement is one of the largest in the state's history, according to U.S. District Judge Judith Levy.
Flashback: In 2014 and 2015, children in the city, many Black and under the poverty line, experienced a surge in lead poisoning after the city switched its water source to the Flint River without treating it to reduce corrosion.
- In the aftermath, state leaders were accused of ignoring the risks and dismissing claims of illness.
What they're saying: "The settlement reached here is a remarkable achievement for many reasons, not the least of which is that it sets forth a comprehensive compensation program and timeline that is consistent for every qualifying participant," Levy wrote in the 178-page order.
Don't forget: The contaminated water was blamed for an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that killed at least 12 people.
- Fetal death rates jumped 58% while birth outcomes worsened, with Black babies being disproportionately impacted.
The big picture: A government-appointed civil rights commission found in 2017 that systemic racism going back decades contributed to the water crisis.
- Then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) was charged with willful neglect of duty earlier this year.