Statement: Committee advances important drinking water bills

Media Contacts
Danielle Melgar

Former Food & Agriculture, Advocate, PIRG

Danielle Melgar

Former Food & Agriculture, Advocate, PIRG

House panel sets 10-year deadline on lead pipes

U.S. PIRG & Environment America

WASHINGTON — The House Energy & Commerce environment subcommittee advanced key measures to protect drinking water on Wednesday. These include H.R. 3291, the Assistance, Quality, and Affordability Act (AQUA), and H.R. 2467, the PFAS Action Act. The AQUA bill not only authorizes $45 billion to replace lead pipes but also creates a 10-year deadline for water utilities to get the job done. The PFAS Action Act designates key “forever chemicals” as hazardous under Superfund, which will ensure polluters pay for clean up.

The committee’s action comes as more and more evidence confirms that lead and PFAS are contaminating the drinking water of millions of Americans. The AQUA Act has been referred to the House Rules committee along with the Water Quality Protection Act (H.R.1915), suggesting that the House intends to consider both pieces of water infrastructure legislation in short order.

In response to the committee’s vote for the PFAS Action Act, Danielle Melgar, U.S. PIRG’s Zero Out Toxics Advocate, issued the following statement:

“The PFAS Action Act designates some of these ‘forever chemicals’ as hazardous substances under the Superfund program, which is a must-do. This would empower the EPA to not only clean up these dangerous, pervasive chemicals, but also hold polluters accountable to the cost of that cleanup. The committee’s vote to move this bill forward is a crucial step toward protecting American families.”

In response to the AQUA Act passing the committee, John Rumpler, Environment America’s clean water program director, issued the following statement: 

“The AQUA bill takes key steps to ‘get the lead out’ of our drinking water — including setting up a 10 year deadline to replace lead service lines and authorizing $45 billion to pay for it. We thank Reps. Paul Tonko and Frank Pallone for their leadership on this legislation, as well as Reps. Chris Smith and Henry Cuellar for their initial bipartisan bill (H.R. 3300) setting the one decade deadline for replacing these lead pipes.

“We also commend Rep. Yvette Clarke for her amendment in subcommittee to provide an initial down payment on funding for schools to install new bottle filling stations with filters to remove lead.  

“Between AQUA and the Water Quality Protection Act, Congress has an unprecedented opportunity to help ensure clean water for all Americans. We urge the House to act swiftly to approve these landmark bills.”