Washington, DC—Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s (MI-13) historic amendment increasing lead pipe replacement funding from the $20 million Congress allocated last year to a whopping one billion dollars. The amendment to H.R. 7608, the State, Foreign Operations, Agriculture, Rural Development, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2021, amounts to a 50-fold increase in funding to provide communities across America clean drinking water.
“It’s long past time we step up our investments to guarantee environmental justice for all—and making clean drinking water possible for the countless Americans who the lack of it has been a tragic fact of life for is a much-needed start,” said Congresswoman Tlaib. “On behalf of the countless families in Michigan and across the country lead-contaminated water affects, especially during a pandemic in which the ability to access clean water at home is critical, I thank my colleagues for passing this amendment.”
Congresswoman Tlaib’s amendment was co-led by her fellow Michigan Reps. Dan Kildee (MI-05) and Elissa Slotkin (MI-08). Prior to its passage, Congresswoman Tlaib spoke on the House floor in support of the action, thanking both her colleagues and the House Appropriations Committee’s Interior-Environment Subcommittee Chairwoman Betty McCollum (MN-04) for their partnership on the effort to get the amendment added and passed in H.R. 7608. It also received the support of 88 clean water advocacy organizations, including Alternatives for Community and Environment, Black Millennials 4 Flint, and League of Conservation Voters, who circulated a letter urging members of Congress to vote in favor of it.
“The Amendment would take a major step towards addressing what has been called ‘a long-running environmental catastrophe’,” the letter read. “We urge the full House—and after that the U.S. Senate—to adopt this measure to finally launch a nationwide program to replace all lead service lines.”
According to a 2016 EPA white paper titled “Lead Copper Rule Revisions,” there are an estimated 6.5 to 10 million homes served by lead service lines in thousands of communities across the country and put countless Americans at risk of lead exposure that can result in serious adverse health effects, particularly for young children.
H.R. 7608—and Tlaib’s amendment—now await consideration by the Senate.