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Protests during then-candidate Donald Trump's visit to the Flint Water Treatment Plant on September 14, 2016. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled on Thursday that Flint, Michigan residents can proceed with more than a dozen lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency and the federal government in connection with increased levels of lead in the city's water supply, CNN reports.

By the numbers: Fetal death rates jumped by 58% in Flint after the city's water was found to be contaminated with high levels of lead in 2014 and 2015, and fertility rates for women dropped by 12%, per a 2017 study. Fifteen state and local officials have been criminally indicted in connection with the Flint water crisis, 4 of whom were charged with involuntary manslaughter.

"The impact on the health of the nearly 100,000 residents of the City of Flint remains untold. It is anticipated, however, that the injury caused by the lead-contaminated public water supply system will affect the residents for years and likely generations to come."
— US Judge Linda V. Parker in Thursday's ruling

The other side: The EPA declined to comment on Thursday's ruling, which stated that the federal government is not immune to legal action in these cases, according to CNN.

Go deeper

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

5 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios