Duckworth Statement on Trump Administration’s New Strategy to Address Lead Poisoning
[WASHINGTON D.C.] – In response to the Trump Administration’s release of a new federal strategy to address the risk of lead poisoning, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released the following statement. Duckworth, the top Democrat on the Senate Fisheries, Wildlife and Water Subcommittee, has been outspoken about the need to reduce exposure to lead poisoning and has been a leader in Congress on this issue, having introduced many pieces of legislation to eliminate lead in America’s drinking water.
“It’s unacceptable that in the wealthiest nation in the world, many families can get sick by drinking the water in their own homes and children can get poisoned from drinking the water in their schools because the requirements to check for lead in water aren’t in place to protect them,” Duckworth said. “It’s been 4 years since the Flint Water Crisis shocked the nation. There should have been a comprehensive strategy in place to address this sooner and I urge the Administration to also implement a strong, enforceable lead and copper rule as soon as possible so we can ensure every family in America has access to clean and safe drinking water no matter where they live or how much money they have.”
Before the Administration released their strategy today, Duckworth and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) wrote to several Trump Administration cabinet officials in August requesting them to quickly complete it after reports indicated it would be released by June, 2018.
Duckworth recently introduced the bipartisan Get the Lead Out of Assisted Housing Act of 2018 with Senator Todd Young (R-IN) and Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI) to protect families living in assisted housing from lead found in drinking water by requiring the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to inspect for lead in service lines and plumbing and creating a grant program to test for lead in the drinking water at child care centers, schools and public facilities.
Duckworth’s Get the Lead Out of Schools Act, which she introduced along with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), would help ensure drinking water in schools across our nation is clean and safe from lead by requiring periodic testing for lead contamination in drinking water at schools while also providing schools with additional resources to monitor lead levels and replace outdated water infrastructure systems to remove contaminants that may be present. She and Congressman Kildee also introduced the NO LEAD Act of 2017 to protect clean drinking water by making lead testing reports more comprehensive and ensuring they are easily available to the public – and, this summer, she joined U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and 9 of their colleagues in introducing the Containment and Lead Electronic Accounting and Reporting Requirements for Drinking Water Act, which would authorize more than $1 billion in federal funding to help small and disadvantaged communities replace contaminated water infrastructure to comply with Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.
Duckworth has urged the EPA on many occasions to strengthen drinking water protections to protect against lead poisoning. She and Congressman Kildee submitted public comments to the EPA last year urging it to eliminate exemptions that allow lead to remain in pipes, fittings and fixtures and to require third party certification to ensure plumbing is lead-free. Duckworth was a harsh critic of former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s failure to combat lead poisoning while he was in office, grilling him at committee hearings over his refusal to protect American children and families from contaminated water. She was also a vocal critic of the Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal, which proposed the elimination of funding for anti-lead contamination programs, including the EPA’s Lead Risk Reduction Program and programs associated with the Office of Ground and Drinking Water.
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