Time Is Ripe for EPA to Lead on Drinking Water Issues

Time Is Ripe for EPA to Lead on Drinking Water Issues.
East Chicago is yet another city with a lead-in-drinking water problem.
Unfortunately, drinking water contamination is only one aspect of the challenges the city faces.
The community—of which 90 percent are people of color and over a third are living below the federal poverty line—has been plagued by a legacy of lead and arsenic contamination in connection with the numerous industrial facilities that have been operating in and around the city for decades.
Against this background of soil and air contamination, EPA conducted a pilot study last year to determine if remediation of the soil would impact lead levels in the drinking water.
But it hasn’t offered any other immediate assistance to protect residents from consuming contaminated water.
Of course, EPA received our petition the same week the Trump administration announced massive staff and budget cuts.
In fact, one of the programs rumored to be on the chopping block is the Agency’s environmental justice program intended to protect communities of color like East Chicago that already bare a disproportionate pollution burden.
EPA Administrator Pruitt has an opportunity to show real leadership by standing behind the statements he made at his confirmation hearing and take action where the City and State have failed to do so.
Pruitt should act now.

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