Vice President Harris on Friday was set to host a summit at the White House on efforts to speed up the removal of lead pipes across the U.S., an issue she has called a public heath crisis.
Harris will be joined at the Summit on Accelerating Lead Pipe Replacement by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan, along with other representatives from state and local governments, water utilities, labor leaders, NGOs, and the private sector.
The White House has made removing every lead pipe in the U.S. within 10 years a centerpiece of its plan to address racial disparities and environmental issues. It follows water contamination crises in cities such as Newark, NJ and Flint, MI.
As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which President Biden signed in November 2021, the EPA on Friday announced a new partnership with states to help communities access funds for lead service line removal and replacement.
“The science is clear—there is no safe level of exposure to lead,” said EPA Administrator Regan.
The Administration is making $15 billion in funding available for lead pipe removal. To date, it has already put $5 billion of those funds into cities and towns, but there are still lead service lines delivering water to schools, offices and day care centers throughout the U.S.
The Vice President would also be sending a letter on Friday to America’s governors to support distributing the lead removal funding equitably, the White House official said.
Lead exposure can damage the brain and kidneys and interfere with red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body. It poses a particular danger to children, whose nervous systems are still developing.