New Lead Bill Introduced in the House

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) (whose Congressional district includes Flint) has introduced a new bill that would require EPA to update and finalize its lead-in-drinking water rule within nine months of the legislation’s enactment.  HR 6311, the National Opportunity for Lead Exposure Accountability and Deterrence Act of 2016 (the NO LEAD Act) has been referred to the House Energy & Commerce Committee for consideration.  Bill text is not yet available; however, it is expected to contain language that would lower the “action level” that would trigger public notification from 15 ppb to 10 ppb.  Should an action level exceedance occur anywhere within the utility’s system, all customers would have to be notified.  Testing protocols would also be strengthened and areas known to include pregnant women and children would be prioritized for attention.  Finally, the bill is expected to have language that requires full lead service line replacement for all utilities.
Separately, negotiations continue between the House and Senate over provisions in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) to address lead in drinking water issues in Flint and across the nation.  At present, the House measure offers $170 million in lead related funding while the Senate number is closer to $220 million.  Senate negotiators have sent word that they’d be open to streamlining some of the provisions to come closer to the House measure.  One area of possible compromise could be removal of Senate language on drinking water infrastructure upgrades and preventive actions that are beyond the purview of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee (originators of the House bill).  There is no sense, yet, as to when a compromise measure might be achieved.