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EPA approves forgiveness of $21 million in Flint City loans

US Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday (8-1-17)  it will approve Michigan's request to forgive nearly $21 million in loans to Flint.

The decision was announced by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt who said the move will allow the city to dedicate more money to fixing its infrastructure.

The state requested the EPA forgive the debt as far back as February.

Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee said  after the crisis broke congress looked for ways to free up funds in Flint. Once lawmakers realized that the city owed $21 million to the state, they asked the state to forgive that debt.

“And they said they couldn’t because there was a problem with the way the law affected loans of a certain age, it was a federal law constraint. We pushed the EPA then to waive that requirement and they said they couldn’t. So we decided we’d just change the law.”

Congressman Kildee said given the circumstances it felt wrong to have the city pay back the state.

“And because it was actually the state of Michigan made the decisions that led to the crisis we thought it was unconscionable that the city would have to pay the state of Michigan back for those loans. Even if they occurred in previous years.”

The loans were taken out as part of a water infrastructure improvement program several years before the crisis.

“So the EPA’s authority to do this comes from a law that I pushed through the House of Representatives and Senators Peters and Stabenow pushed through the Senate. It was actually the last bill signed by President Obama. It allows the state of Michigan to forgive Michigan’s revolving loan debt for water.”

In a written statement Mayor Karen Weaver said that with continued support from the state, federal, and local levels quote “Flint will indeed bounce back.”