WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has concluded public engagements around its review of the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) revisions. The agency obtained valuable input from the public, stakeholder groups, state co-regulators, Tribal representatives, local officials, and communities. This input will help inform the agency’s review of the LCR revisions as the agency determines next steps to ensure that the rule protects communities from lead—especially vulnerable populations.
“Listening to and learning from communities impacted by lead in drinking water is essential to ensuring that EPA’s actions protect all communities, especially communities of color and low-income communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “These sessions gave EPA a more complete understanding of the adverse effects that lead exposure have on children and those with health concerns. Now we will apply these lived experiences to our work to strengthen drinking water protections.”
On March 31, 2021, EPA announced it would host public listening sessions and roundtables to ensure that communities and stakeholders had the opportunity to provide their perspectives to the agency on protections from lead in drinking water. EPA’s public engagement was kicked off with two virtual listening sessions for the public. These were followed by ten separate roundtable discussions with communities that have been affected by lead in drinking water. EPA hosted roundtables with Pittsburgh Pa.; Newark, N.J.; Malden, Mass.; Washington, D.C.; Newburgh, N.Y.; Benton Harbor and Highland Park, Mich.; Flint and Detroit, Mich.; Memphis, Tenn.; Chicago, Ill.; and Milwaukee, Wis. These geographically focused roundtables included local public water utilities, community organizations, environmental groups, and public officials.
Additionally, last month, EPA hosted a virtual roundtable that brought together representatives from Tribal communities that have been impacted by lead in drinking water. EPA also hosted a virtual roundtable with 29 stakeholder groups, allowing representatives from public health organizations, environmental groups and environmental justice organizations, utilities, and consumer groups to discuss LCRR-related topics and provide their national perspectives to the agency. EPA’s engagement concluded with a national co-regulator meeting with associations representing state, Tribal, territorial, and local governments to discuss the feedback EPA received from communities and stakeholders.
“As co-regulators with EPA, the members of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators were pleased to have an opportunity for a constructive dialogue with EPA on the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions,” said ASDWA Executive Director Alan Roberson. “ASDWA provided extensive comments and several specific recommendations for the Agency to consider in its deliberations on potential next steps.”
Livestreams and recordings of the public listening sessions and community, tribal, and stakeholder roundtables can be accessed here.
For more information on the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions, visit: https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/revised-lead-and-copper-rule.
Lead can cause irreversible and life-long health effects, including decreasing IQ, focus, and academic achievement. EPA is committed to following the best science to address lead in the nation’s drinking water and will take the appropriate time to review the LCR revisions and make sure communities that have been impacted the most are protected. In March of this year, EPA announced an extension of the effective date of the Revised Lead and Copper Rule so that the agency could seek further public input on the rule. The agency hosted virtual public listening sessions on April 28, 2021, and May 5, 2021.
On May 26, 2021, EPA announced the ten communities that were selected for virtual roundtable discussions on EPA’s LCR revisions. Members of the public were also able to submit comments via the docket at: http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2021-0255 until July 30, 2021.