White House appoints official to lead Flint water response

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Anthony Fordham picks up bottled water from the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan to deliver to a school after elevated lead levels were found in the city's water in Flint, Michigan. Photo by Rebecca Cook/Reuters

Anthony Fordham picks up bottled water from the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan to deliver to a school after elevated lead levels were found in the city’s water in Flint, Michigan. Photo by Rebecca Cook/Reuters

WASHINGTON — The White House is appointing a Health and Human Services Department official to lead federal efforts to help the city of Flint, Michigan, deal with its water crisis.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says he anticipates that President Barack Obama will meet with the city’s mayor on Tuesday.

Mayor Karen Weaver had already visited with the president’s senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, earlier in the day.

Earnest says state and local officials are responsible for managing the response. He says an assistant secretary at the department, Nicole Lurie, will coordinate federal help.

The crisis began in 2014 when a state-appointed emergency manager switched Flint from Detroit water to Flint River water to save money. Flint returned to the Detroit system after elevated lead levels were discovered in children.

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