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Pallone, Tonko Request Hearings & Action to Update Safe Drinking Water Act

Jun 30, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C.  – Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Ranking Member Paul Tonko (D-NY) sent a letter today to full committee Chairmen Fred Upton and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus requesting committee action to update the Safe Drinking Water Act, which has not been updated in 20 years.  

“With little time left, the Subcommittee must take meaningful steps to provide the additional resources and tools that state and local governments need to ensure the public is provided with clean, safe drinking water,” Pallone and Tonko wrote. “Safe drinking water is essential to every human, social and economic activity every day. We cannot afford to ignore the problem any longer. We urge you to hold hearings and bring comprehensive legislation before the Subcommittee and then the full Committee to address this national crisis.”

The crisis in Flint, Michigan has heightened the need for congressional action to update the Safe Drinking Water Act. According to a Natural Resources Defense Council report cited in the letter and released earlier this week, more than 18 million people are served by community water systems that exceed the action level under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Lead and Copper Rule. The letter also highlights the need for committee action to update laws to regulate other chemicals that are not regulated, or not effectively regulated, under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The two committee leaders have repeatedly urged Upton and Shimkus to hold hearings, and to work with them to update the Safe Drinking Water Act. 

Earlier this year, Pallone and Tonko introduced the AQUA Act, which would update the Safe Drinking Water Act to significantly increase funding authorization levels for local communities with water infrastructure deficiencies.