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House Energy and Commerce Democrat Majority Exclude Trump Administration From Lead Hearing

02/11/2020
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (Feb. 11, 2020) – Today, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change will hold a hearing on the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed updates to the Lead and Copper Rule, the first major proposed updates to the rule in nearly three decades. Unfortunately, the House Energy and Commerce Democrat Majority conveniently chose to exclude EPA, only extending an invite well after the customary two weeks advance notice window had closed. This two-week notice has been precedent for such requests stretching back multiple Administrations and Congresses. Given the amount of witnesses present at today's hearing it appears to be a deliberate attempt to exclude the Trump Administration.  

The House Energy and Commerce Democrat Majority reached out to the EPA about this hearing for the first time on Feb. 3, providing only six business days before the oversight hearing. To attempt to paint a picture that this is some sort of long planned priority contravenes the facts on the ground and ignores the efforts of the Trump Administration to explain the proposal to the American people. This falls in line with the efforts of many outside groups and lawmakers to attack and misinform the public about the proposal, as noted in a recent Bloomberg Environment article titled “EPA Lead Proposal, Derided as Weak, May Be Sneakily Strong.” EPA looks forward to providing more information on this proposal, including to the House Energy and Commerce Committee when given the customary invitation beforehand.

Facts on EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule:

The Trump Administration’s proposal to update the lead and copper rule, first unveiled in October 2019, is the first major update to the rule in nearly three decades.

The agency’s proposal takes a proactive and holistic approach to improving the current rule—from testing to treatment to telling the public about the levels and risks of lead in drinking water. When finalized, this proposal will:

  • Require more water systems to act sooner to reduce lead levels and protect public health. 
  • Improve transparency and communication.
  • Better protect children and the most at-risk communities.

The proposal focuses on six key areas. Under the proposal, a community water system would be required to take new actions, including, but not limited to:

1) Identifying the most impacted areas by requiring water systems to prepare and update a publicly-available inventory of lead service lines and requiring water systems to “find-and-fix” sources of lead when a sample in a home exceeds 15 parts per billion (ppb).

2) Strengthening drinking water treatment by requiring corrosion control treatment based on tap sampling results and establishing a new trigger level of 10 ppb (e.g. trigger level outlined below).

3) Replacing lead service lines by requiring water systems to replace the water system-owned portion of an LSL when a customer chooses to replace their portion of the line. Additionally, depending on their level above the trigger level, systems would be required take LSL replacement actions, as described below.

4) Increasing drinking water sampling reliability by requiring water systems to follow new, improved sampling procedures and adjust sampling sites to better target locations with higher lead levels.

5) Improving risk communication to customers by requiring water systems to notify customers within 24 hours if a sample collected in their home is above 15 ppb. Water systems will also be required to conduct regular outreach to the homeowners with LSLs.

6) Better protecting children in schools and child care facilities by requiring water systems to take drinking water samples from the schools and child care facilities served by the system.

Background

Under Administrator Wheeler’s leadership, in December 2018 EPA with its federal partners announced the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts. As part of the Plan, EPA is working to address lead in water systems across the country, including undertaking the first major overhaul of the Lead and Copper Rule since 1991. In addition, EPA is working with states to ensure that the existing Lead and Copper Rule is being properly implemented. 

Read the rule and fact sheets at www.epa.gov/safewater/LCRproposal

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