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Kildee, Upton Introduce Legislation to Strengthen Federal Role in Drinking Water Emergencies

February 4, 2016
Press Release

Bipartisan Legislation Works to Ensure Flint Tragedy Can Never Happen Again 

Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph and Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, today announced joint legislation pertaining to the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The bill is co-sponsored by all 14 members of Michigan’s congressional delegation.

The Safe Drinking Water Act Improved Compliance Awareness Act will strengthen requirements to have the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) step in to notify the public when concentrations of lead in drinking water are above federal requirements. It requires the EPA to create a strategic plan for handling and improving information flow between water utilities, the states, the EPA, and affected consumers. It also ensures consumer notification when the corrosiveness of water being transported in a lead pipe could leech into public drinking water. The legislation is similar to a bill introduced by Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters in the U.S. Senate.

“When there are unacceptable levels of lead in people’s drinking water, they should immediately be told about it,” Congressman Kildee said. “This legislation, supported by Democrats and Republicans, strengthens notification requirements for the public and changes federal law to ensure that people are notified quickly when there are dangerous levels of lead in their drinking water. This is the latest action I’m taking in Congress to promote accountability and help Flint recover from this terrible man-made tragedy.”

“What happened in Flint is simply unacceptable at all levels. No amount of regrets or words can actually fix what’s broken – we need concrete action,” said Upton, who chairs the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. “Our bipartisan legislation will ensure consumers are not kept in the dark and makes certain the EPA fulfills their fundamental duty to warn the public of high lead levels. Our efforts now must focus on helping those Flint families who need clean water. We’re not letting up.”

Read the full text of the legislation online HERE.