Senate

Harris unveils plan to revamp infrastructure, ensure access to clean water

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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) plans to introduce legislation to ensure minority communities have access to clean water and to upgrade outdated water infrastructure.

The Water Justice Act would invest $250 billion toward affordability, sustainability and safety measures while replacing lead service lines as well as providing assistance for families unable to pay water bills, according to Harris’s office.

{mosads}The bill would specifically allocate $10 billion to offset water costs in low-income and “environmentally at-risk” communities, with the latter determined by proximity to hazardous or heavily polluted sites.

It would also allocate $50 billion in emergency funds to communities whose water supplies have been contaminated, such as Flint, Mich., including funds for communities and schools to test water and replace or fix tainted water infrastructure.

“Every American has the right to clean water, period,” Harris said in a statement. “We must take seriously the existential threat represented by future water shortages and acknowledge that communities across the country — particularly communities of color — already lack access to safe and affordable water.”

“Achieving true justice in our nation will require us to recognize the precious nature of water and take bold action to invest in long-term, sustainable solutions to ensure it is accessible for all,” she added.

Corresponding legislation has been introduced in the house by Reps. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), who represents the Flint area, and Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.).

“My hometown of Flint knows all too well the consequences of failing to invest in our drinking water systems. No family should ever have to worry if the water coming out of their taps is safe, and unfortunately that is a reality for many communities across the country,” Kildee said in a statement.

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