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Peters Highlights Measures to Protect Michigan’s Environment, Public Health in Government Funding Bill

Provisions Aim to Combat Lead Poisoning, Prevent Another Flint Water Crisis, and Protect the Great Lakes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters today applauded passage of government funding legislation that will help protect clean air and water in Michigan. The bill includes provisions to support lead abatement programs in housing, prevent lead exposure through drinking water, and provide resources to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), the premier tool to clean up the Great Lakes.

“Whether it’s exposure through drinking water, air or soil, we know there are no safe levels of lead, especially for children,” said Senator Peters. “I’m proud that this legislation includes amendments to protect Michigan children from exposure to lead paint and help prevent another Flint water crisis from happening again. Those provisions, along with strong funding to protect the Great Lakes, will help ensure that Michigan communities can protect public health as they work to revitalize neighborhoods, protect our treasured natural resources and grow our state’s economy.”

Peters authored a bipartisan amendment with Senator Todd Young (R-IN) requiring the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study investigating the current efforts of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to mitigate exposure to lead, including through home demolitions and renovations. Despite existing lead abatement programs at both agencies, Michigan has one of the highest rates of lead poisoning, especially among children. Peters’ amendment will help identify best practices and improve coordination to ensure contractors, homeowners and property managers are taking the appropriate steps to reduce exposure to lead in water, air and soil.

The legislation also included an amendment from Senator Debbie Stabenow and Peters requiring the EPA to implement recommendations on the Flint water crisis in the Inspector General’s report to prevent a similar crisis from happening again. The report calls on the EPA to update the Lead and Copper Rule, which guides how communities control lead in drinking water. The report also requires EPA to establish a clear policy outlining when the agency should intervene in future incidents.

The bill also includes full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to help protect the Great Lakes for future generations.