EPA, Leaders of Benton Harbor and Highland Park, Michigan, Discuss Lead in Drinking Water
CHICAGO (June 22, 2021) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hosted a community roundtable with organizers representing Benton Harbor and Highland Park, Michigan, highlighting the experience of these two cities with lead in drinking water. This roundtable discussion, along with nine others being held with communities across the country, is essential to inform EPA’s review of the Lead and Copper Rule revisions and to ensure that the rule is grounded in the lived experience of individuals and communities that are most at-risk of exposure to lead in drinking water.
“Cities across the Midwest are experiencing significant challenges with lead in drinking water and this roundtable will help share real-world perspectives from leaders in two Michigan cities,” said Elizabeth Cisar, senior advisor for EPA’s Office of Water. “Addressing lead in drinking water will require partnerships and strong leaders and I want to thank U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib and the community groups that organized this roundtable for their leadership on this issue of public and community wellbeing.”
“People in Michigan know the importance of clean and safe drinking water. Benton Harbor, Highland Park, Ferndale, Royal Oak, and Flint are just a few of the Michigan communities dealing with excessive lead in their drinking water. I appreciated the leadership of Administrator Regan and efforts of the EPA in working with local communities in Michigan so that our families can trust the water that flows from their taps,” said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.
“I am pleased that the EPA has paused the disastrous Trump Lead and Copper Rule that would leave lead pipes in the ground for decades as it does the work of actually listening to Americans impacted by lead poisoned water,” said U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. “There is no safe level of lead exposure, and we must urgently get to work replacing the millions of lead service lines across the country. Roundtables like this in frontline communities will make the human cost of inaction abundantly clear, and I hope the EPA will take aggressive and decisive action to revise the Trump Rule to put public health first.”
Participants included U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, City of Benton Harbor officials, City of Highland Park officials, Soulardarity, Citizens for a Sustainable Highland Park and Freshwater Future.
Additional information on the virtual roundtable, including how to watch a recording, is available at: https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/lead-and-copper-rule-revisions-virtual-engagements.
Lead can cause irreversible and life-long effects including decreasing IQ, focus and academic achievement. EPA is committed to following the best science to address lead in the nation’s drinking water and will take the appropriate time to review the LCR Revisions and make sure communities that have been impacted the most are protected. In March of this year, EPA announced an extension of the effective date of the Revised Lead and Copper Rule so that the agency could seek further public input on the rule. The agency hosted virtual public listening sessions on April 28 and May 5. On May 26, EPA announced the 10 communities selected for virtual roundtable discussions on EPA’s LCR Revisions. Members of the public may also submit comments via the docket at: http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2021-0255 until July 30.