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BOSTON -- The White House unveiled a new plan Thursday to prevent the lead contamination of drinking water (and reduce other exposures to lead). The Biden-Harris Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan features unprecedented federal funding and a commitment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “to propose requirements that, along with other actions, would replace all lead service lines as quickly as feasible.” More broadly, the White House plan includes 15 actions across 10 federal agencies, allocations of relevant federal funding, and a cabinet-level partnership to reduce lead in child care centers and schools.
In response, MASSPIRG issued the following statement:
"We’ve known for decades that lead is highly toxic for kids - harming their growth, development, and learning,” said Deirdre Cummings, Legislative Director for MASSPIRG. “Yet we allowed this potent neurotoxicant to be used in everything from paint to gasoline, and we have spent decades undoing the damage. Today, we are hopeful that the Biden-Harris Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan marks the moment when our nation commits the rules and resources needed to eliminate this health hazard, so our kids have safe drinking water wherever they go to learn and play each day.”
“This plan marks an ambitious federal effort to end lead contamination of our drinking water. Already, the administration has secured major funding to replace lead service lines, including $15 billion in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Now, the EPA is committing to ensure the full replacement of these toxic pipes – a long-overdue and an indispensable step toward securing safe water. We eagerly await the details of the agency’s plan. For example,the EPA should set a deadline of 10 years or less to replace lead service lines. Similarly, to stop the widespread contamination of schools’ drinking water, the administration should focus its resources and policies on prevention rather than testing."
“According to the lead testing data from the Department of Environmental Protection, more than half of the 43,000 taps tested from 980 schools across Massachusetts tested positive for lead. Ensuring safe drinking water will require action at all levels of government. Congress must also approve the nearly $10 billion of additional funds to get the lead out in the Build Back Better package. State officials and school districts should swiftly allocate existing federal recovery funds to prevent lead contamination, including passaging S 580/H 906, An Act ensuring safe drinking water at schools filed by Senator Joan Lovely (Salem), Representative Lori Ehrlich (Marblehead), and a bipartisan group of legislative cosponsors to get the lead out of our schools and child care centers."
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