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Michigan's City of Flint Water Plant illuminated by moonlight. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Michigan has agreed to pay $600 million to settle civil lawsuits brought over the deadly Flint water crisis, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer confirmed on Thursday.

Why it matters: Flint's drinking water was contaminated with high levels of lead in 2014 after the city changed its water source from treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department water to the Flint River — causing a public health crisis.

  • The cost-cutting measure left residents sick and reliant on bottled water.
  • At least 12 people died in an outbreak of the Legionnaires' disease during the crisis, PBS writes, noting the tally is likely higher.
  • Fetal death rates jumped 58%, lead levels in children's blood spiked and thousands of residents were told in 2017 they would lose their homes if they didn't pay water bills.

Where it stands: Flint switched back to Detroit Water in 2015, 18 months after the crisis began. But some work to repair pipes remains unfinished, per the New York Times — and using bottled water for drinking, bathing and cooking is common.

  • Last year, Michigan's attorney general dropped cases against eight current and former officials accused of failing to alerting the public about the safety of Flint's drinking water.
  • The attorney general's office said this April it was still pursuing its criminal investigation.

What they're saying: Councilman Eric Mays said the state's settlement was "primarily going to the kids" who've alleged in lawsuits in state and federal court that "they were lead-poisoned by city water while state-appointed emergency managers were running the city," per MLive.

  • "We acknowledge that this settlement may not completely provide all that Flint needs, and that many will still feel justifiable frustration with a system and structure that at times is not adequate to fully address what has happened to people in Flint over the last six years," the governor's office said in a statement.
  • "What happened in Flint should have never happened," Whitmer added in a video statement, acknowledging that Flint residents have been "beyond patient."

Go deeper

Updated Oct 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

6 people charged in plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Photo: Brittany Greeson for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Six men have been charged in an alleged plot to violently overthrow the government and kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to an FBI affidavit unsealed Thursday. Seven other men linked to the militia group Wolverine Watchmen were charged by Michigan's attorney general for plotting to attack the state Capitol building.

Driving the news: Whitmer responded to the thwarted operation in an address on Thursday, calling for national unity and criticizing President Trump for his failure at the first presidential debate to explicitly condemn extremist groups. Hate groups heard Trump's comments "not as a rebuke, but as rallying cry, as a call to action," Whitmer said.

Trump blasts Gov. Whitmer after news she was target of terror plot

President Trump on Thursday criticized Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a series of tweets, and then an appearance on Fox News, after it was revealed the FBI thwarted an alleged plot to kidnap her and violently overthrow the state government.

Why it matters: Trump's tweets comes after Whitmer attacked President Trump for his positions on extremist groups in a speech earlier Thursday. The governor said extremists heard Trump's refusal at a debate last month to explicitly condemn white supremacist groups "not as a rebuke, but as rallying cry, as a call to action."

Whitmer criticizes Trump, calls for unity after thwarted kidnapping plot

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer attacked President Trump for his positions on extremist groups and called for national unity in an address Thursday, following news that the FBI thwarted an alleged plot to kidnap her and violently overthrow the state government.

What she's saying: The governor, who was the target of protests by right-wing groups for implementing strict coronavirus restrictions, acknowledged she "made tough choices" to protect the state from the pandemic, but insisted "we are not one another's enemies."