WASHINGTON—Today, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) led 30 colleagues in sending a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to include the Emergency Water is a Human Right Act (H.R. 616) in his upcoming infrastructure package, because millions of Americans are suffering from not having access to clean water. H.R. 616 would prohibit water shutoffs and ensure water affordability protections for low-income households during the COVID-19 national emergency. The Congresswomen’s letter addresses the need to address the root causes of water affordability and the urgent need to replace dangerously outdated water infrastructure, including lead water mains and service lines.
“We want to thank you for your commitment to water rights for all, and for your attention to the needs of our most vulnerable communities. To that end, we urge you to include the provisions of H.R. 616 – the Emergency Water is a Human Right Act, in your upcoming infrastructure package. This bill – which has bicameral support, is cosponsored by 82 Members of U.S. House Representatives and is endorsed by over six dozen organizations – provides a comprehensive legislative roadmap to address America’s water crisis in the midst of this pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote.
“No person living in this country, whether Democrat or Republican, should be forced to survive without access to safe and clean water, let alone during a global pandemic. It is essential that any final agreement on an infrastructure package include robust funding to tackle America’s water affordability crisis, money to upgrade and replace dangerous outdated water infrastructure, and a water shutoff prohibition for the duration of the pandemic to help keep all of us safe from this deadly virus,” the letter continues.
Reps. Barragán; Blumenauer; Bonamici; Bush; Carson; Connolly; Espaillat; Chuy García; Grijalva; Hastings; Jayapal; Mondaire Jones; Khanna; Barbara Lee; Andy Levin; McBath; Meng; Moore; Nadler; Newman; Norton; Ocasio-Cortez; Pressley; Kathleen Rice; Schakowsky; Sires; Stevens; Bennie Thompson; Velázquez; and Welch all cosigned the letter.
The letter is also endorsed by the following advocacy organizations: Clean Water Action; EarthJustice; Friends of the Earth; Corporate Accountability; Environmental Law & Policy Center; Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition (MEJC); Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice; Freshwater Future; Alliance for the Great Lakes; Center for Biological Diversity; Michigan League of Conservation Voters; Southwest Detroit Community Benefits Coalition; Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice; EcoWorks; For Love of Water (FLOW); Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council; Michigan Clinicians for Climate Action; Ohio Environmental Council; Impact Detroit; Cities of Peace Detroit; Water Fighting for You; Flint Rising; Michigan Air Michigan Health; People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) Buffalo; Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team; Michelle and Associates; Chandler Park Neighborhood Association; Riverwise Magazine; Pennsylvania Council of Churches; and Principia LLC.
Congresswomen Tlaib and Dingell previously led 71 of their colleagues to reintroduce the Emergency Water is a Human Right Act this January.
Read the full text of the letter here.