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Dingell, Upton Seek Urgent Answers and Further Assistance from EPA on Benton Harbor Lead Water Crisis

DEARBORN, MI - Last Friday, U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Fred Upton (R-MI) sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan seeking urgent answers, increased water testing, and further assistance on the ongoing lead contamination crisis in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Among several questions, the lawmakers requested a summary of the EPA’s work with Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and a clear record of resources that the EPA has provided to the city and state for bottled water, water filters, and lead line replacement.

To date, roughly 6,000 waterpipes in Benton Harbor fail to meet federal lead standards and must be replaced. Dingell and Upton have called for an “all-hands-on-deck” effort to resolve this pressing public health crisis and determine exactly what is needed moving forward, including an EPA study on water filter efficacy in Benton Harbor.

“The City of Benton Harbor is home to about 10,000 Michiganders – the vast majority are African American, and all of whom have been without clean drinking water for far too long,” wrote the lawmakers. “In some areas, lead levels have shown to be nearly sixty times the federal standard. This is simply not acceptable. Clean water is not a luxury; it is a basic necessity for every American family.”

On Friday, both Dingell and Upton voted for the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 228 to 206. This comprehensive legislation – which Dingell and Upton helped write as members of the influential Energy and Commerce Committee and the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus last summer – will provide $1.3 billion for lead line replacement in Michigan and another $10 billion to clean up PFAS contamination locally and nationwide.

You can read the full letter HERE.


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