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Former Flint Emergency Manager to Attend Congressional Hearing on Water Crisis

Flint's former Emergency Manager Darnell Earley is slated to attend an upcoming congressional hearing on his role in the city's water crisis.
Image: The City of Flint Water Plant is illuminated by moonlight
The City of Flint Water Plant is illuminated by moonlight on Jan. 23.Brett Carlsen / Getty Images

Members of a congressional committee looking into the Flint Water crisis issued a subpoena to the city’s former Emergency Manager Darnell Earley on Thursday requesting that he come to Washington, D.C. for a deposition on February 25th.

The subpoena was delivered directly by U.S Marshals to both Darnell Earley and his attorney an aide for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee told NBC News, and it requests that Earley meet with members of Congress behind closed doors to discuss his role in the lead-poisoning crisis in Flint’s drinking water supply.

Earley’s attorney, A. Scott Bolden, says they have received this subpoena and Earley plans to attend.

Earley was originally invited last week to attend an open House Oversight Committee hearing which was held Wednesday, but Earley’s attorney told the Committee that he would not be able to make it to D.C. An aide for the committee says that same day they then issued a subpoena for Earley to come to D.C. to testify, but Earley’s attorney refused to accept service of the subpoena by digital means.

Related: House Panel Accuses Officials of Covering Up Flint Water Crisis

A letter was also sent to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder asking him to testify before the House Democrats’ Steering and Policy Committee hearing on Wednesday, February 10 at 2:00 p.m. entitled “The Flint Water Crisis: Lessons for Protecting America's Children.”

"To date, Congress has not heard testimony from you on the Flint water crisis. Unfortunately, a prior Congressional hearing this week did not include top state officials, including emergency financial managers appointed by you to run the city of Flint. Seeing how it was your administration’s decisions that led to this public health crisis, including Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law, we believe it is important to hear testimony from you on this matter,” Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, Donna F. Edwards, D-Maryland and Dan Kildee, D-Michigan wrote Synder in a letter.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's water office told lawmakers Wednesday that Michigan authorities broke federal rules requiring them to add anti-corrosive materials to drinking water pumped into Flint homes, triggering a lead-poisoning crisis.

Critics also accused the EPA of covering up what it knew about that misconduct while Flint residents continued drinking the tainted water.

The crisis dates to the city's unusual decision, under leadership of Early, to save money by switching from Detroit's water system to the Flint River. The river water ate away at old pipes, delivering lead-tainted water to customers. A chorus of residents and scientists raised warnings, but government officials insisted for months that the water was not dangerous.

The unfolding crisis, now under criminal investigation by state and federal authorities, caused elevated levels of lead in the blood of thousands of Flint children.

"There was a continuous effort to try to minimize this problem as if it did not exist." Flint Congressman Dan Kildee told the panel on Wednesday.