Michigan governor Snyder apologizes for Flint water crisis, says 'I will fix it'

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Flint Mom Talks About Flint Water Crisis

Criticized for his handling of a water crisis that has exposed residents of a city of nearly 100,000 people to lead poisoning, Michigan's governor on Tuesday apologized to the citizens of Flint and pledged to fix the problem.

"Your families face a crisis — a crisis you did not create and could not have prevented," Snyder said in his State of the State address Tuesday.

See also: A Timeline of the Flint Water Crisis

"To you, the people of Flint, I say tonight as I have before: I am sorry and I will fix it," Snyder said. "Government failed you."

Snyder has been criticized for his handling of the crisis. Earlier on Tuesday, protesters near the capitol building repeated calls that he resign.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday met with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, the same day that the Environmental Protection Agency said officials acted too slowly to address the crisis and that it was hampered by "resistance at the state and local levels to work with us."

The debacle in Flint began after the governor-appointed emergency manager in 2013 inked a deal to stop buying water from Detroit in order to save money.

See photos from the crisis:

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Michigan governor Snyder apologizes for Flint water crisis, says 'I will fix it'
People wait in line to attend a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy about the tainted water in Flint, Michigan, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, March 17, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Flint, Mich. resident Laura MacIntyre holds a sample of contaminated water taken from her home as she and other Flint residents speak to reporters outside a hearing where former Flint, Mich., Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, former State EPA administrator Susan Hedman, former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling, and Virginia Tech environmental engineering professor Marc Edwards testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, in Washington, Tuesday, March 15, 2016, to examine the ongoing lead water crisis in Flint, Michigan. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 23: A volunteer walks by cases of bottled water at the St. Mark Baptist Church in Flint, Mich., that serves as a water distribution area, February 23, 2016. The water supply was not properly treated after being switched from Lake Huron to the Flint River and now contains lead and iron. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 23: From left, Immanuel Stinson, Tirrell Mills, Walter Simmons, and Charles Reid, man a water distribution area at the St. Mark Baptist Church in Flint, Mich., February 23, 2016. The water supply was not properly treated after being switched from Lake Huron to the Flint River and now contains lead and iron. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR COMCAST - Some of the water distributed at the Comcast water collection event held Saturday, Feb. 20 at the Flint Boys and Girls Club in Flint, Mich. came with well-wishes from those that donated it. (Kevin W. Fowler/AP Images for Comcast)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR COMCAST - Michigan Representative Phil Phelps (D-Flushing), left, and Comcast employee Lloyd Richards deliver cases of water to residents at Slidell Senior Housing Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 in Flint, Mich. (Kevin W. Fowler/AP Images for Comcast)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 26: Matt Hopper holds and comforts Nyla Hopper, age 5 of Flint, after she has her blood drawn to be tested for lead on January 26, 2016 at Eisenhower Elementary School in Flint, Michigan. Free lead screenings are performed for Flint children 6-years-old and younger, one of several events sponsored by Molina Healthcare following the city's water contamination and federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 03: Flint residents Gladyes Williamson (C) holds a bottle full of contaminated water, and a clump of her hair, alongside Jessica Owens (R), holding a baby bottle full of contaminated water, during a news conference after attending a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Flint, Michigan water crisis on Capitol Hill February 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. Williamson, and Owens traveled to Washington by bus with other flint familes to attend the House hearing on the crisis, and demand that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder be brought before Congress to testify under oath. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Flint, Mich. resident Tim Robbins waits in line to get into the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing to examine the ongoing situation in Flint, Michigan, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. Michigan should have required the city of Flint to treat its water for corrosion-causing elements after elevated lead levels were first discovered in the city's water a year ago, the state's top environmental regulator says in testimony prepared for congressional hearing. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
A bottle of water from the home of Melissa Mays of Flint, Mich. sits on the table on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing to examine the ongoing situation in Flint, Mich. Michigan should have required the city of Flint to treat its water for corrosion-causing elements after elevated lead levels were first discovered in the city's water a year ago, the state's top environmental regulator says in testimony prepared for congressional hearing. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 03: Flint resident Jessica Owens holds a baby bottle full of contaminated water, during a news conference after attending a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Flint, Michigan water crisis on Capitol Hill February 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. Owens and other Flint families traveled to Washington by bus to attend a House hearing on the crisis and demand that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder be brought before Congress to testify under oath. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 03: Flint residents call for justice during a news conference, after attending a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Flint, Michigan water crisis on Capitol Hill February 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. A group of Flint families traveled to Washington by bus to attend a House hearing on the crisis and demand that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder be brought before Congress to testify under oath. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 03: Flint resident Leroy Jackson attends a news conference with Flint families after attending a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Flint, Michigan water crisis on Capitol Hill February 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. Jackson and other Flint families traveled to Washington by bus to attend a House hearing and demand that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder be brought before Congress to testify under oath. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 3: From left, Marc Edwards, Charles P. Lundsford Professor of Environmental and Water Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, looks on as LeeAnne Walters, Flint resident who helped expose the lead crisis, testifies during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Examining Federal Administration of the Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, Michigan on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., second from left, accompanied by, from left, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., discusses proposed legislation to help Flint, Mich. with their current water crisis, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Midwest Food Bank workers and volunteers carry cases of water that was donated, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, in Indianapolis. All of the water that was collected will be sent to Flint, Mich., where drinking water has been contaminated by lead. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Registered Nurse Brian Jones draws a blood sample from Grayling Stefek, 5, at the Eisenhower Elementary School, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 in Flint, Mich. The students were being tested for lead after the metal was found in the city's drinking water. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 27: A sign at a local restaurant reassures customers that they are not on Flint water but on uncontaminated water pulled from Detroit on January 27, 2016 at Westside Diner in Flint, Michigan. Local restaurants have faced concerns following the contamination of Flint's water and subsequent federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 24: Matt Krol speaks to protestors and citizens about the Flint Water Crisis on January 24, 2016 at Flint City Hall in Flint, Michigan. The event was organized by Genesee County Volunteer Militia to protest corruption they see in government related to the Flint water crisis that resulted in a federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 24: A shirt worn by a man during a rally displays a poisonous logo alongside the text 'City of Flint MI Water Dept.' on January 24, 2016 at Flint City Hall in Flint, Michigan. The event was organized by Genesee County Volunteer Militia to protest corruption they see in government related to the Flint water crisis that resulted in a federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 24: Protestors hold signs and listen as Dave McKellar speaks about the troubles facing Flint at a rally on January 24, 2016 at Flint City Hall in Flint, Michigan. The event was organized by Genesee County Volunteer Militia to protest corruption they see in government related to the Flint water crisis that resulted in a federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 24: Darius Simpson, an Eastern Michigan University student from Akron, Ohio, carries water he brought to donate for Flint residents during a rally on January 24, 2016 at Flint City Hall in Flint, Michigan. The event was organized by Genesee County Volunteer Militia to protest corruption they see in government related to the Flint water crisis that resulted in a federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 23: A water collection device is handed out to citizens of Flint for testing contaminated water on January 23, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. A federal state of emergency has been declared due to the city's water supply being contaminated. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 24: Arthur Woodson, self proclaimed 'Water Warrior' from Flint, Michigan, speaks about the Flint Water Crisis on January 24, 2016 at Flint City Hall in Flint, Michigan. The event was organized by Genesee County Volunteer Militia to protest corruption they see in government related to the Flint water crisis that resulted in a federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 27: Signs for a local restaurant reassure customers that they are not on Flint water but on uncontaminated water pulled from Detroit on January 27, 2016 at Westside Diner in Flint, Michigan. Local restaurants have faced concerns following the contamination of Flint's water and subsequent federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 27: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder wears pins as he speaks to the media regarding the status of the Flint water crisis on January 27, 2016 at Flint City Hall in Flint, Michigan. A federal state of emergency has been declared in Flint related to the city's water becoming contaminated. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 23: National Guard members distributing water to citizens of Flint on January 23, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. Water is being handed out for free to citizens of Flint following a federal state of emergency being declared due to the city's water supply becoming contaminated. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Michigan National Guard Staff Sgt. James Green hands out a water test kit to be distributed to residents, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 in Flint, Mich. The National Guard, state employees, local authorities and volunteers have been distributing lead tests, filters and bottled water during the city's drinking water crisis. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
A forklift driver moves a pallet of water in a warehouse Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Flint, Mich. Area residents dealing with contaminated drinking water in Flint will be the recipients of the water, which they can pick up at fire stations throughout the city. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Protesters gather outside the state Capitol before Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's State of the State address, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Lansing, Mich. With the water crisis gripping Flint threatening to overshadow nearly everything else he has accomplished, the Republican governor again pledged a fix Tuesday night during his annual State of the State speech. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 17: Justin Roberson (L), age 6, of Flint, Michigan and Mychal Adams, age 1, of Flint wait on a stack of bottled water at a rally where the Rev. Jesse Jackson was speaking about about the water crises at the Heavenly Host Baptist Church January 17, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. U.S. President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency in Michigan, which will free up federal aid to help the city of Flint with lead contaminated drinking water. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder requested emergency and disaster declarations after activating the National Guard to help the American Red Cross distribute water to residents. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 17: A sign on a the front of a building warns residents to filter their water January 17, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. U.S. President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency in Michigan, which will free up federal aid to help the city of Flint with lead contaminated drinking water. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder requested emergency and disaster declarations after activating the National Guard to help the American Red Cross distribute water to residents. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 17: The Flint River flows in downtown January 17, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. U.S. President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency in Michigan, which will free up federal aid to help the city of Flint with lead contaminated drinking water. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder requested emergency and disaster declarations after activating the National Guard to help the American Red Cross distribute water to residents. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 17: Soldiers from the Michigan Army National Guard Flint hand out bottled water at a fire station January 17, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. U.S. President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency in Michigan, which will free up federal aid to help the city of Flint with lead contaminated drinking water. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder requested emergency and disaster declarations after activating the National Guard to help the American Red Cross distribute water to residents. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 13: A sign points the ay for Flint residents to get bottled water, water testing kits, and water filters at a Flint Fire Station January 13, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. On Tuesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder activated the National Guard to help the American Red Cross distribute water to Flint residents to help them deal with the lead contamination that is in the City of Flint's water supply. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 13: Michigan National Guard Staff Sergeant Steve Kiger of Beaverton, Michigan, welcomes Flint, Michigan residents as they arrive at a Flint Fire Station to get bottled water January 13, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. On Tuesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder activated the National Guard to help the American Red Cross distribute water to Flint residents to help them deal with the lead contamination that is in the City of Flint's water supply. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 13: The Flint Water Plant tower is shown January 13, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. On Tuesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder activated the National Guard to help the American Red Cross distribute water to Flint residents to help them deal with the lead contamination that is in the City of Flint's water supply. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
In this photo taken De. 18, 2015, President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the briefing room at the White House in Washington. On Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, the president signed emergency declaration and ordered federal aid for Flint, Mich., authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Homeland Security Department to coordinate relief efforts. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 13: Michigan National Guard Staff Sergeant William Phillips (right) of Birch Run, Michigan, helps a worker unload a pallet of bottled water at a Flint Fire Station January 13, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. On Tuesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder activated the National Guard to help the American Red Cross distribute water to Flint residents to help them deal with the lead contamination that is in the City of Flint's water supply. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
In a photo from Jan. 2, 2016, Rabecka Cordell picks up a case of bottled water outside the fire station in Flint, Mich. âWe both have lead poisoning,â said Cordell, who learned that two weeks ago from her doctor. She says she has leukemia and her son has learning and speech disabilities. She will not even bathe in Flint water and wonât wash her son in it. (AP Photo/Roger Schneider)
Staff Sgt. William Phillips, with the Michigan National Guard, assists a resident at a water distribution center Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, at a fire station in Flint, Mich. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder activated the National Guard late Tuesday to help deliver water to residents dealing with a drinking water crisis that began months ago. (AP Photo/Mike Householder)
A convoy consisting of state police, county sheriffâs representatives, and volunteers makes it way through a snowy neighborhood Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016 in Flint, Mich., to offer bottled water, filters, and other items to residents. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder also activated the National Guard late Tuesday to help deliver water to residents dealing with a drinking water crisis that began months ago. (AP Photo/Mike Householder)
In this photo taken Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, empty water filter boxes are stacked against the wall at a Flint, Mich., fire station. Residents had been told they could get filters and bottled water there, but the filters were gone by mid-afternoon and the water was all out a couple of hours later. Flintâs 100,000 residents have been urged not to drink the water because of concerns over high lead levels. (AP Photo/Roger Schneider)
In this Feb. 3, 2015 photo, Flint residents receive free water being distributed at the Lincoln Park United Methodist Church in Flint, Mich. Since the financially struggling city broke away from the Detroit water system last year, residents have been unhappy with the smell, taste and appearance of water from the cityâs river as they await the completion of a pipe to Lake Huron. They also have raised health concerns, reporting rashes, hair loss and other problems. A General Motors plant stopped using the water, saying it was rusting its parts. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
In this Feb. 3, 2015, photo, Lemott Thomas carries free water being distributed at the Lincoln Park United Methodist Church in Flint, Mich. Since the financially struggling city broke away from the Detroit water system last year, residents have been unhappy with the smell, taste and appearance of water from the cityâs river as they await the completion of a pipe to Lake Huron. They also have raised health concerns, reporting rashes, hair loss and other problems. A General Motors plant stopped using the water, saying it was rusting its parts. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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Water from the Flint River was used, but tests later showed it wasn't properly treated and caused old pipes to corrode, allowing lead to leach into the water, officials said.

Lead poisoning can cause mental and physical development problems. A first batch of 2,200 tests showed that at least 43 children had elevated levels of lead in their blood.

SEE ALSO: Here's What Lead Can Do to You

Snyder said Tuesday that he would release his emails regarding Flint from 2014 and 2015 in the interest of transparency.

He also said he has requested $28 million short-term funding to replace fixtures at day cares, hospitals, and schools; treatment of affected children; and a study using outside experts to evaluate the state of pipes and connectors in Flint.

"We will not stop working for the people of Flint until every single person has clean water every single day — no matter what," Snyder said.

He said the National Guard would increase efforts to visit every affected home in the city. He pledged to appeal Obama's decision not to declare a major disaster.

Obama has declared a state of emergency over the crisis, which allows for federal aid. A major disaster declaration is usually used for natural events like earthquakes of tornadoes.

Protesters in the state capital of Lansing ahead of the speech Tuesday placed the blame squarely on Snyder, and said the town's appointed emergency manager put the budget over the health of the town's children.

"They pumped poison into our homes, we fed it to our children, we were promised it was safe," said Melissa Mays, a Flint resident and founder of the group "Water You Fighting For?"

"The state failed us. They lied."

The crowd chanted "Clean water!" and "Snyder must go!" near the Michigan Capitol Building.

SEE ALSO: EPA Faults State 'Failures and Resistance' in Flint Water Crisis

Snyder admitted his office knew last summer that Flint residents had complained they were "getting blown off" by state environmental officials.

Flint resumed using Detroit water in October. Snyder said he would request long-term health monitoring of children and others who may have been exposed.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has called on Snyder to resign. Hillary Clinton said at Sunday's debate that "every single American should be outraged."

In New Hampshire Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz called the situation in Flint "an absolute travesty."

"It is a failure at every level of government," Cruz told reporters there. "It is a failure of the city officials, it is a failure of the county officials, it is a failure of the state officials and the men and women of Michigan have been betrayed."

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