Tlaib, Dingell, Duckworth, Booker, Lead Colleagues in Urging EPA to Strengthen Lead and Copper Rule Improvements Proposal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives Rashida Tlaib (MI-12) and Debbie Dingell (MI-06), co-chairs of the House ‘Get the Lead Out’ Caucus, alongside U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), co-founders of the new Senate Lead Task Force and the U.S. Senate Environmental Justice Caucus, led 86 of their colleagues in applauding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their proposed Lead and Copper Rule Improvements (LCRI) while also urging them to strengthen the rule by considering additional provisions that would improve and expedite the Biden Administration’s effort to remove all lead service lines from our nation. 

“While we recognize the challenges for some municipalities to remove thousands of lead pipes in 10 years, the proposal could allow another generation of children in many communities to be exposed to lead from their tap water,” wrote the members. “Some cities have been able to replace tens of thousands of lead pipes in just a few years, creating good living wage jobs while providing enormous benefits to the community.”

“As part of the replacement provisions, the final rule should clearly ensure that individual property owners do not have to pay for lead service line replacement,” the members continued. “We have seen that when utilities charge individual property owners for lead service line removal, often low-income homeowners are unable to pay and landlords refuse to pay. This leaves disproportionate lead in water threats for renters, low-income people and people of color.”

“We also recommend that the rule be strengthened to require comprehensive testing for lead in schools and childcare facilities, including tribal educational centers, with incentives for water utilities and non-profits to work with them to install filtration stations to provide immediate safe water and take steps to remove and replace any lead plumbing, fixtures and faucets,” wrote the members.

Along with Duckworth and Booker, the letter was co-signed by every member of the Senate Lead Task Force, including U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ed Markey (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), as well as U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Peter Welch (D-VT). 

Along with Tlaib and Dingell, the letter was co-signed in the House by U.S. Representatives Alma Adams (D-NC-12), Gabe Amo (D-RI-01), Becca Balint (D-VT-At Large), Nanette Barragán (D-CA-44), Joyce Beatty (D-OH-03), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-01), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY-16), Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), Nikki Budzinski (D-IL-13), Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24), Troy Carter (D-LA-02), Greg Casar (D-TX-35), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL-20), Judy Chu (D-CA-28), Steve Cohen (D-TN-09), Gerald Connolly (D-VA-11), Dwight Evans (D-PA-03), Bill Foster (D-IL-11), Maxwell Frost (D-FL-10), John Garamendi (D-CA-08), Jesús García (D-IL-04), Sylvia Garcia (D-TX-29), Daniel Goldman (D-NY-10), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ-07), Glenn Ivey (D-MD-04), Sara Jacobs (D-CA-51), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-07), Hank Johnson (D-GA-04), Robin Kelly (D-IL-02), Ro Khanna (D-CA-17), Daniel Kildee (D-MI-08), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-08), Barbara Lee (D-CA-12), Summer Lee (D-PA-12), Ted Lieu (D-CA-36), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-18), Seth Magaziner (D-RI-02), Lucy McBath (D-GA-07), Jennifer McClellan (D-VA-04), James McGovern (D-MA-02), Gwen Moore (D-WI-04), Kevin Mullin (D-CA-15), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-12), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-At Large), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14), Donald Payne (D-NJ-10), Mark Pocan (D-WI-02), Katie Porter (D-CA-47), Delia Ramirez (D-IL-03), Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08), Pat Ryan (D-NY-18), Andrea Salinas (D-OR-06), Linda Sánchez (D-CA-38), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL-09), Adam Schiff (D-CA-30), Brad Schneider (D-IL-10), Robert Scott (D-VA-03), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-07), Darren Soto (D-FL-09), Haley Stevens (D-MI-11), Shri Thanedar (D-MI-13), Dina Titus (D-NV-01), Ritchie Torres (D-NY-15), Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14), Juan Vargas (D-CA-52), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY-07), Maxine Waters (D-CA-43) and Frederica Wilson (D-FL-24).

The letter is endorsed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and League of Conservation Voters.

“This letter from Congressional leaders from across the country highlights what we all know—we need to get the lead out of our tap water as soon as possible,” said Erik D. Olson, Senior Strategic Director for Health at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “Polling shows that 9 in 10 voters across the spectrum of party affiliation and ideology support updating EPA’s rules to require utilities to fully replace their lead pipes in the next ten years. This is a fixable problem—we just need the political will to get it done. Thank you Senator Booker, Senator Duckworth, Representative Dingell and Representative Tlaib for leading your colleagues in support of a strong rule that will deliver safe, lead-free drinking water to everyone.”

The full text of the letter can be found here.

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