WASHINGTON—Today, the House of Representatives passed Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s (MI-13) Comprehensive Lead Service Line Replacement Amendment to the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), which was co-sponsored by Reps. Dan Kildee (MI-05), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), David Cicilline (RI-01), and Gwen Moore (WI-04). The amendment would authorize $22.5 billion over 5 years in critical funding for full lead pipe replacement, prioritizing low-income communities like those in Michigan’s 13th district. It passed with bi-partisan support in a vote of 240-181.
A 2018 report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) revealed that between 2015 and 2018, about 5.5 million Americans in communities around the nation got their water from systems that exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s lead action level of 15 parts per billion. The threat of lead-contaminated water is a long-standing one that has disproportionately affected low-income communities and communities of color for decades—and has yet to be meaningfully addressed.
“Water is a human right and our amendment passed today is a huge step toward making that so by delivering the clean drinking water that every person—in Michigan and beyond—deserves,” Congresswoman Tlaib said. “It ensures that there are no half measures and that the over nine million homes currently at risk of lead exposure get the full lead pipe replacement we owe them. I am proud to have more than 100 environmental justice and community groups stand in support of this commitment to spend $22.5 billion over the next five years to keep our residents safe and clean water flowing.”
This morning, a letter from over 100 local, regional, and national environmental groups and justice organizations, including the NRDC, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Clean Water Action, BlueGreen Alliance, and Evergreen Action, was sent to all members of the House urging support of the amendment in advance of the vote on it.
“Now, more than ever, families should not have to worry about whether their drinking water is harming their health… Lead pipes are a threat to kids and families across the country,” an EDF one-pager also sent on Congresswoman Tlaib’s amendment read.
Tlaib also marked the passage of two other amendments to the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2): one that would require an outline of how Federal infrastructure planning, design, engineering, construction, operation, and maintenance impact the environment and public health of disproportionately exposed communities, and another that would require an annual consultation between DOT and EPA to review all projects under the Community Climate program.
The full text of the Comprehensive Lead Service Line Replacement Amendment can be read here.