Sending Office: Honorable Brenda L. Lawrence
Deadline: COB Thursday, September 20, 2018
Current Co-signers: Lawrence, Fitzpatrick, Kildee, Sinema, Costa, Sires, Jackson Lee, Castor, Gottheimer
Americans have a right to know that water coming from their taps is safe to drink. In 2018, every state has problems with lead and other contaminants in their drinking water. For this reason, we can no longer avoid the threat of contamination by further
delaying needed upgrades to our infrastructure.
As you may remember, the WIIN Act of 2016 authorized grant programs (Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities Grants, the Reducing Lead in Drinking Water Grants, and the Lead Testing in School and Child Care Program Drinking Water Grants) to address
lead reduction and testing in our drinking water. These grant programs passed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support. As the FY19 Interior Appropriations bill is finalized, we ask that the conference committee commit to funding the three grant programs
that would assist small and disadvantaged communities remove contaminants from their drinking water systems.
Please join us in urging conferees to provide robust funding for these three grant programs. The text of the letter is below. To sign on, please contact Alex Huang (Alex.Huang@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Lawrence’s
Brenda L. Lawrence Brian Fitzpatrick
Member of Congress Member of Congress
Daniel T. Kildee
Member of Congress
Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen, Chairman Shelby, Ranking Member Lowey, and Ranking Member Leahy:
As the conference committee finalizes spending priorities for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19), we strongly urge you to support full and robust funding for the Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities grants in Section 2104, the Reducing Lead in Drinking
Water Grants in Section 2105, and the Lead Testing in School and Child Care Program Drinking Water Grants in Section 2107 in Public Law No: 114-322 at the full authorized amounts of $60 million, $60 million and $20 million respectively.
Americans have a right to expect that water coming from their taps is safe to drink. We can no longer delay needed upgrades to our infrastructure, strengthening drinking water protections and removing lead and other contaminants out of public water supplies.
There are nearly 2,000 water systems—at least one in every state in the country—that have elevated levels of lead in their drinking water. The Section 2105 grants go directly toward replacement of lead service lines, testing, planning, and corrosion control
in water systems throughout the country.
Small and disadvantaged communities have a particularly difficult time removing contaminants from their drinking water systems due to funding constraints. In fact, more than 18,000 drinking water systems serving almost 77 million people across the country
were in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act just in 2015 alone. Smaller systems, like those serving rural areas, had much higher rates of violations than larger systems. The Section 2104 grants would allow the communities with the least resources to ensure
that their drinking water is safe.
Finally, there have been many reports in recent years of lead found in the drinking water at schools across the country. Unfortunately, testing can be expensive for already cash-strapped schools. Section 2107 grants were created to help defray those costs
and keep the limited funding our schools receive focused on education.
These grant programs passed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support, in large part because we know that clean water is one of the most basic foundations of our daily lives – we ignore its safe storage and delivery at our own peril. The underfunding
of our vital water and wastewater infrastructure, and the safety of our families and children are issues we simply cannot continue ignore. Pipes may be out of sight, but they cannot be out of mind. We urgently need to minimize the risks to our communities
and our children. Urban, rural and suburban neighborhoods – in every community in America – all rely on safe, clean water.
We respectfully urge you to fully fund these grant programs and protect our communities.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0