EPA Regional Chief Resigns over Flint Water Crisis

A regional chief of the Environmental Protection Agency has resigned amid the scandal with Flint, Michigan's water. 

According to a statement released by the EPA, Susan Hedman, head of the agency's regional office in Chicago whose jurisdiction includes Michigan, will step down as of February 1 to focus on "solely on the restoration of Flint's drinking water."

High levels of lead have been detected in the impoverished city's water since officials switched from the Detroit municipal system and began drawing from the Flint River as a cost-saving measure in April 2014. Some children's blood has tested positive for lead, a potent neurotoxin linked to learning disabilities, lower IQ and behavioral problems.

While much of the blame has been directed at Gov. Rick Snyder and state officials, particularly the Department of Environmental Quality, some have faulted the EPA's Region 5 office for not acting more forcefully.

The EPA order states that the state notified the EPA in April of 2015 that Flint was not treating its water for lead contamination. Hedman and other regional officials "voiced concern" over the next few months but did not organize a task force until October of 2015, after the city switched back to the Detroit water system.

"Mismanagement has plagued the region for far too long and Ms. Hedman's resignation is way overdue," said U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.