Lawmakers, health professionals, water advocates call for a stronger Lead & Copper Rule

Lawmakers, health professionals, water advocates call for a stronger Lead & Copper Rule

LANSING – The Michigan League of Conservation Voters (MLCV) — along with a diverse array of lawmakers, public health experts and water advocates — called for a stronger Lead & Copper Rule today in advance of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing on the proposed rule in Lansing.

In the wake of the Flint water crisis, we need a bold, comprehensive plan for ensuring all communities have safe water to drink, and that starts with removing all lead pipes in communities across Michigan,” said Lisa Wozniak, Executive Director at MLCV. “I call on leaders to act now and make sure the Lead & Copper Rule is strengthened and that it puts in motion a comprehensive strategy for quickly ridding all communities of lead pipes the right way.”

As part of a larger statewide effort to reduce lead exposure, Michigan’s DEQ has drafted proposed changes to the Lead and Copper Rule. The DEQ is accepting comments from the public on these proposed changes through March 21.  MLCV has led an effort advocating for a stronger rule that removes all lead pipes quickly and safely, ensuring that the cost of replacement is affordable, especially for low-income households.

Every family deserves access to safe and affordable drinking water. We must learn from the Flint water crisis and update the outdated Lead and Copper Rule so that we can provide greater transparency, protect public health and restore confidence in drinking water systems. We must do all that we can to prevent a similar man-made tragedy from happening elsewhere,” said Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint).

There is no ‘safe’ level of lead – even the smallest detectable levels can cause long-term reduction in children’s achievement,” said Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Flint pediatrician and director of MSU-Hurley Pediatric Public Health Initiative. “We must learn from Flint and take steps to eliminate all lead from our drinking water infrastructure.”

Though it took far too long and came at too high a cost, the plan to strengthen Michigan’s rules for lead pipes is common sense and a good step forward,” said State Representative Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint). “But this cannot be the last step taken by our state government to take on the threat of lead in our drinking water, or to give support to Flint Families as well as other Michiganders.”

Strengthening the Lead & Copper Rule is an important step, but to make sure Michigan families are protected from the serious risk of lead service lines, the rule should require that these lines are completely replaced,” said Dr. Yanna Lambrinidou, affiliate faculty in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech. “As written, this rule allows for the continuation of ‘partial’ line replacement, an approach that can result in lead spikes for months and years after construction and has been linked to large scale health harm. I sincerely hope that Michigan will take a stand on public health by banning these replacements once and for all.”

Waiting until 2024 to strengthen the lead-action level is an affront to public health. The people of Flint need action sooner,” said Nayyirah Shariff, director of Flint Rising. “We call on state lawmakers to craft an infrastructure package that avails the funding needed to remove lead pipes quickly and safely, without raising rates on residents in Flint. If we make drinking water unaffordable, we will create even more public health crises.”

The Lead and Copper Rule must go further to secure safe, affordable, accessible water to all of Michigan. For many years, water and sanitation have been unaffordable in Detroit, but the old lead pipes must be replaced for the safety of everyone. Clean affordable water is imperative to the dignity and quality of life of every Michigander,” said representatives of The People’s Water Board.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 1, 2018

Contact: Katie Parrish, Communications Director, (239) 537-9507

Join The Movement

Get exclusive, real-time updates about environmental action in Lansing — PLUS ways you can take action straight to your inbox.

Join the movement to protect the Great Lakes state

And we’ll show you two ways to help. Together, we can be a voice for change and protect Michigan’s land, air, water, public health, and democracy.