FILE - In this Aug. 22, 2018, file photo, Defendant Michael Prysby looks over paperwork with his defense attorneys at Genesee District Court in Flint, Mich. Prysby and Stephen Busch, two Michigan environmental regulators implicated in the Flint water scandal, have pleaded no contest to misdemeanors in exchange for more serious charges being dropped. (Jake May /The Flint Journal via AP, File)

FILE - In this Aug. 22, 2018, file photo, Defendant Michael Prysby looks over paperwork with his defense attorneys at Genesee District Court in Flint, Mich. Prysby and Stephen Busch, two Michigan environmental regulators implicated in the Flint water scandal, have pleaded no contest to misdemeanors in exchange for more serious charges being dropped. (Jake May /The Flint Journal via AP, File)

2 Michigan regulators take plea deals in Flint water case

LANSING, Mich. — Two Michigan environmental regulators implicated in the Flint water scandal pleaded no contest to a misdemeanour Wednesday in exchange for more serious charges being dropped, bringing to six the number of officials who have agreed to such deals.

Michael Prysby pleaded no contest to a count of violating Michigan’s Safe Drinking Water Act, and Stephen Busch pleaded no contest to disturbing a public meeting. They had been charged with felonies, but those charges were dropped under the terms of their deals, which also require them to testify against others, as needed.

A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing purposes. Their sentencing hearings are scheduled for Jan. 23.

The plea from Busch, a water supervisor in the state Department of Environmental Quality, relates to his failing to give proper information during a January 2015 meeting in which Flint residents complained about the city’s discolored and smelly water after the April 2014 switch from a Detroit-area system to using the Flint River.

Busch, who had faced involuntary manslaughter and other felony charges, said in a Flint courtroom Wednesday that he had conversations with state Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon about legionella bacteria before March 2015 — many months before Lyon and Gov. Rick Snyder publicly announced a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the Flint area. Some experts have blamed the outbreak on the use of the river.

Lyon, a member of Snyder’s Cabinet, is the highest-ranking of the 15 state or local officials to be charged in relation to the water scandal.

The plea from Prysby, a DEQ water engineer, relates to the improper permitting of Flint’s water treatment plant during the switch.

Todd Flood, a special prosecutor hired by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, put on the record parts of Prysby’s co-operation to date. They include allegations that the river water was not tested before being distributed to residents, that an environmental order was improperly used to facilitate the financing of a planned move to a new regional water pipeline, and that two state-appointed emergency managers were ultimately the ones who decided to put the city’s water treatment plant back into full service before it was ready.

Both Prysby and Busch have been on paid leave. They were among the first three officials to be charged in connection to the water crisis, along with a Flint water official who went on to take a deal.

Flint ran into extraordinary trouble when the emergency managers appointed by Snyder put the city on water from the river while a pipeline was being built to Lake Huron. The corrosive water was not properly treated due to an incorrect reading of federal rules by state regulators, and lead leached from old pipes into homes and led to elevated levels of the toxin in children.

Just Posted

A gofundme account has been set up for Lilac the husky, of Blackfalds. (Photo from gofundme)
Dog ends up in coma after a walk in Blackfalds

Dog finds a baggie that likely contained drugs

(Contributed)
Red Deer man reported missing

Red Deer RCMP seek public’s assistance

An attendee of the Maskwacis memorial held on May 31, 2021, for the 215 school children found in Kamloops, B.C. the week before, holds a teddy bear. <ins>The grandstand was filled with 215 bears to represent the lost children. They were offered to residential school survivors at the end of the memorial. </ins>(Photo illustration by Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Ermineskin residential school survivor: ‘It just brings me back to the cries at night’

Discovery in Kamloops of remains of 215 children a painful time for survivors

Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven before a confidence vote in the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm, Sweden, Monday June 21, 2021. Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven faces a no-confidence vote in the Riksdag parliament, after the Left Party said this week that it had lost confidence in Lofven and his center-left minority government. (Anders Wiklund / TT via AP)
Swedish PM loses confidence vote, sparking uncertainty

Prime minister has one week to call new election or ask parliament speaker to find a new government

A large number of supporters were out Saturday at a rally intended to bring awareness about including Hinduism in the grade 2 portion of the K-6 draft curriculum. As it stands now, Hinduism won’t be taught until grade 6 in the proposed draft curriculum. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Video: Rally to support adding Hinduism to draft curriculum draws crowd in Red Deer

The Hindu community in Red Deer came out in droves on Saturday… Continue reading

Inuk elder Reepa Evic-Carleton light a qulliq, a traditional oil lamp, at a public ceremony to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day on the bank of the Ottawa River behind the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que. on Thursday, June 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Kawai
Singh blasts Liberal ‘hypocrisy’ on National Indigenous Peoples Day

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he believes the Liberal government… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border measures start easing in July for fully vaccinated Canadians

OTTAWA — Fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning to Canada will… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Canada to unveil travel rules for fully vaccinated citizens, permanent residents

OTTAWA — Canada is set to detail what quarantine rules citizens and… Continue reading

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky poses for a photo in Toronto on Monday, October 17, 2016. Two of Canada’s most prominent athletes are part of the ownership group of a new Las Vegas National Lacrosse League franchise. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu
Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash join forces with Las Vegas lacrosse team

League’s 15th team will start play in the fall of 2022

Orlando City and Montreal Impact players take a knee before their MLS match, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
CF Montreal finds two new home venues as Gold Cup comes to Fort Lauderdale

Exploria Stadium has been Toronto FC’s home field this year

Police and firefighters respond after a truck drove into a crowd of people injuring them during The Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival in Wilton Manors, Fla., on Saturday, June 19, 2021. WPLG-TV reports that the driver of the truck was taken into custody. (Chris Day/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Officials say deadly Pride parade crash was not intentional

Driver and the victims were a part of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus family

FILE - In this April 18, 2017, file photo, a conference worker passes a demo booth at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, in San Jose, Calif. Facebook is launching podcasts and live audio streams in the U.S. Monday, June 21, 2021, to keep users engaged on its platform and to compete with emerging rivals.(AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)
Facebook launches podcasts, live audio service

Handful of podcasts will first be available to people in the U.S.

Intricate cloth masks with Indigenous design made by Teresa Snow. Facebook/ Masks4Maskwacis
‘Masks 4 Maskwacis’ wins Northern Lights Volunteer Award

The group received recognition for their efforts to support their community during COVID-19.

Most Read