Target: Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan
Goal: Provide funding to aid communities with lead-contaminated water.
Lead poisoning is unhealthy and dangerous, especially for children, who can experience life-long adverse effects in their growth, behavior, and intelligence. The crisis of lead-contaminated water in Flint, Michigan brought these dangers into the public eye last year, but the water in Flint is still not safe to drink, and many other communities in poor areas with industrial histories also suffer from lead-contaminated water.
The U.S. Senate has passed a bill that would provide $270 million to aid these communities. The legislation is attached to a broader bill that will fund the repair of water infrastructure like dams and levees. This is a hard-won victory; the addition of this funding for communities like Flint was added into the bill only after Michigan’s senators fought for months to have it added to other pieces of legislation or to pass it as a stand-alone bill.
The Senate passed the measure by an overwhelming majority, but no action can be taken unless the bill passes in the House of Representatives. If it passes, the Flint package would provide grants to assist with drinking water emergencies, water infrastructure projects, helping communities comply with drinking water standards, decreasing lead exposure in children, and developing a national lead exposure registry.
The residents of communities like Flint have already suffered the consequences of a lax response to the dangers of lead contamination in their drinking water. For their sake, as well as the safety of all U.S. citizens, this legislation must be passed.
Dear Speaker Ryan,
Lead-contaminated water is a huge danger to the children of our country. Exposure to lead during childhood can lead to lifelong consequences in growth, behavior, and intelligence. There is no level of lead that is safe to exist in blood, and yet the children in many communities have a lead blood level that the CDC considers “of concern”–5 micrograms per deciliter or more.
The Water Resource Development Act, which the Senate passed 95-3, includes funding that will aid Flint and other communities like it. This legislation authorizes a lot of assistance for vital steps to be taken in response to contaminated water, while spending only a little. The grants it provides would help states with drinking water emergencies, help communities comply with safe drinking water standards, assist water infrastructure projects, decrease lead exposure in children, and develop a national lead exposure registry. The Flint package would take effect immediately, but only upon approval in the House.
The water crisis in Flint Michigan was a disastrous event, and its effects are still being felt. Residents of Flint still cannot safely drink unfiltered tapwater. A disaster of that scale cannot be allowed to happen again, and families living in communities like Flint that face this danger deserve safety and the acknowledgement of their government. I urge you to pass legislation that will help those affected by this travesty, and protect other American neighborhoods from this dangerous threat.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Frank J. Aleksandrowicz