U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today introduced a package of legislation that responds to the nationwide crisis of unsafe drinking water, crumbling infrastructure and inadequate water protection that has combined to poison residents of Flint, Mich., and communities throughout the country.
“Americans have a right to expect that water coming from their taps is safe to drink. We can no longer delay needed upgrades to our infrastructure, strengthening drinking water protections and forever getting lead and other contaminants out of public water supplies,” said Senator Cardin. “Clean water is one of the most basic foundations of our daily lives – we ignore its safe storage and delivery at our own peril. Unfortunately, for too long we have overlooked the need to invest in this key aspect of our future, and children in communities like Flint are the ones being made to suffer most. We can and must immediately do more as a country to better protect our waters and our kids, and these bills will help us do exactly that.”
Senator Cardin’s proposal is contained in four pieces of legislation:
S. 2588, Grants and Education To Tackle Homeowner Exposure to Lead Ensuring America Drinks Only from Unpolluted Taps Act of 2016 (GET THE LEAD OUT Act of 2016) – provides grants to reduce lead in community drinking water supplies and delivery systems.
S. 2587, Copper and Lead Evaluation and Reporting Act of 2016 (CLEAR Act) – updates the Safe Drinking Water Act to require the EPA to develop new regulations to improve reporting, testing and monitoring related to lead and copper levels in drinking water.
S. 2586, Thorough Evaluation of State Testing to Kick-start Investigations before Damage is Suffered Act of 2016 (TEST KIDS Act) – requires states to report elevated blood lead levels to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the CDC to investigate clusters of elevated blood lead levels.
S. 2583, Firm, Unwavering National Dedication to Water Act of 2016 (FUND Water Act) – more than triples the authorized appropriations to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and Clean Water State Revolving Fund. S. 2583 updates Senator Cardin’s bill, S. 2532, to begin increased funding in FY17.
“Underfunding of our vital water and wastewater infrastructure is an issue we simply cannot ignore. Pipes may be out of sight, but they cannot be out of mind,” said Senator Cardin. We urgently need to minimize the risks to our communities and our children. Urban, rural and suburban neighborhoods – in every community in America – all rely on safe, clean water. Our health and our livelihoods will continue to be in danger if we do not act decisively.”