FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 22, 2020
Contact: Senator Robert Cowles: (608) 266-0484
Joins EPA and Local Leaders for Announcement on Federal Lead and Copper Rule
GREEN BAY– Today, Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) joined the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler, other Agency personnel, and a handful of local and state leaders from across the nation in a virtual press conference to announce the unveiling of the final revised Lead and Copper Rule. Senator Cowles was pleased to have the opportunity to deliver brief remarks during the event and provide a quote for the EPA’s release on this announcement. Both are included below:
Quote included in EPA’s Press Release:
“The revised LCR is a substantial milestone in our continued collective efforts across the country to remove lead from our communities. Whether it’s local efforts such as those taken by Green Bay, Wisconsin to finish the removal of every lead lateral, statewide efforts such as those I’ve lead in Wisconsin to increase local flexibility for remediation strategies, or federal efforts such as the laudable LCR revisions, it’s pivotal that all levels of government stay involved in the fight to invest in our future by protecting children’s health. Thank you to Administrator Wheeler and the EPA for your important work on the revised LCR.”
Written Copy of Remarks Delivered in the Press Conference:
I’ve known about the problems that high lead exposure can create for quite a while, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I really began to dive into the behavioral, developmental, and health issues that lead poisoning can pose for Wisconsin’s youth, whether it’s in the classroom, in the home, or in the community.
That’s why I authored 2017 Wisconsin Act 137, the Leading on Lead Act, to give communities another tool to help rid our state of this antiquated infrastructure. Continuing to be explored by other local governments, so far eight communities have adopted resolutions to offer partial grants or loans with utility funds to remove customer-side lead laterals as they replace the public-side laterals and main.
One community that’s utilized the Leading on Lead Act, Green Bay, Wisconsin – which is also my hometown – finished the removal of their last lead lateral just a couple of months ago.
But this is just one effort in one state, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that we need many tools in the toolbox as part of a larger effort to gather the data and propose solutions to lead poisoning.
That’s why I’m glad the EPA has broken nearly 30-years of stagnation and taken the initiative to prioritize addressing lead. The revised Lead and Copper Rule makes common-sense, comprehensive changes that will help to better identify problems and launch localized remediation strategies that benefit all Americans today and into the future.
I’m particularly happy to see mandated lead testing in elementary schools and childcare facilities. Last Legislative Session, I undertook an effort with two bills collectively known as Supporting Children’s Health by Ousting Outdated Lead, or SCHOOL for short. This revision to the LCR will help support my statewide effort, which I plan to reintroduce in 2021, to help ensure that clean water is delivered to the population most vulnerable to lead-laden water.
With any issue as complex as lead water infrastructure, it takes a host of solutions. The revised LCR is a substantial milestone in our continued efforts to remove lead from our communities. Now, all three levels of government must continue our collective push for safer water.
Whether it’s local efforts such as those taken by Green Bay, statewide efforts such as those I’ve lead in Wisconsin, or federal efforts such as the laudable LCR revisions or making funding available to implement remediation strategies, it’s pivotal that all levels of government continue to learn from each other’s approaches and stay involved in the fight to invest in our future by protecting children’s health.