The US Senate [official website] approved legislation [materials] Thursday amending the Safe Drinking Water Act [materials] to provide $100 million in emergency funding to repair pipes in cities suffering from lead contamination, such as Flint, Michigan [CNN backgrounder]. The amendment also makes grant money available so educational agencies may carry out testing for and remediation of lead contamination in their local schools. There are 29 projects supported by the measure, including those aimed to restore Florida’s Everglades and improve flood prevention in Louisiana. Passed in a 95-3 vote [AP report], the Act still requires approval by the House. The bill would provide $10 billion overall to support water initiatives.
Water contamination has been a major concern over the last year. In March Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan was served with a class action lawsuit [JURIST report] over the water contamination in Flint, Michigan. In February BP supervisors were found not guilty [JURIST report] of a Clean Water Act violation after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Also in February the Supreme Court blocked [JURIST report] the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which meant to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In December a federal appeals court preserved the EPA’s Mercury regulations [JURIST report] that limit mercury and other hazardous pollutants from coal-fired power plants. In October the Sixth Circuit temporarily stayed the EPA’s new Clean Water Rule [JURIST report] for the Clean Water Act.