Judge says US government can be sued for Flint water crisis

The Flint Water Treatment Plant is shown September 14, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A judge says the federal government can be sued by Flint residents who blame the Environmental Protection Agency for waiting too long to intervene in the city’s water crisis.

Federal Judge Linda Parker didn’t determine whether EPA employees were negligent when Flint’s water system became contaminated with lead in 2014 and 2015. The decision at this stage is more narrow, with the judge saying Thursday that the government isn’t immune to a lawsuit.

Parker says EPA employees knew lead was leaching from old pipes because Flint’s water wasn’t being properly treated. She says the EPA also knew that Michigan regulators were misleading residents about the quality of the water.

The judge says the “lies went on for months.”

The Associated Press sent an email to the EPA seeking comment Friday.

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