The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Peter Hart,

VP's Newark Visit Underscores Need for More Lead Funding

Administration’s infrastructure deal does not fully fund necessary water solutions.


Today, Vice President Kamala Harris is in Newark to highlight the city's response to combat a lead crisis that impacted drinking water in New Jersey's largest city.

The visit should shine a spotlight on the urgent need to address lead contamination across the country, and the shortcomings of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Food & Water Watch Water for All Program Director Mary Grant issued the following statement:

"Newark tackled its clean water crisis thanks to strong grassroots pressure from community activists, and the fact that the city was able to secure the funding necessary to protect residents from dangerous lead contamination. Unfortunately, the White House has not yet made the level of commitment necessary to end the lead-in-water crisis nationally. The infrastructure bill championed by the Biden administration devotes $15 billion to lead pipe replacement, which is only a quarter of what the water industry estimates could be necessary to replace all lead service lines. And about half of that funding comes in the form of loans, instead of grants, which disinvested-in cities urgently need. This simply does not suffice.

"If the administration wants to fully confront this crisis, President Biden should prioritize making the WATER Act a part of his infrastructure agenda. This bill is the only permanent fix for our water crises, allocating $35 billion per year to urgently address the problems facing communities all across the country. The WATER Act prioritizes disadvantaged communities and would be fully paid for by rolling back some of the previous administration's corporate tax breaks. And the WATER Act would make sure that the funds would not flow to large private water companies that take control of public water systems. The solution to our national water crisis is ready- now we need to act."

Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people's health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

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