EPA to jumpstart 'war on lead' with strategy meeting

EPA to jumpstart 'war on lead' with strategy meeting
© Greg Nash

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittGovernment watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas MORE is jumpstarting his promised campaign against lead contamination with a meeting of staff at the White House next week.

Pruitt on Monday invited the leaders of the 17 agencies that make up President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children to discuss a draft plan to eliminate lead exposure to children in the U.S. and mitigate health risks, according to a statement released by EPA.

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In the letter, Pruitt asked attendees to come prepared to consider any actions that the government could undertake in the next three years to reduce lead's health impacts on children.

Attendees included U.S. Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump distances himself from Rosenstein by saying Sessions hired him Gowdy: Declassified documents unlikely to change anyone's mind on Russia investigation Pompeo on Rosenstein bombshell: Maybe you just ought to find something else to do if you can't be on the team MORE, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonBen Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh, accuser say they’re prepared to testify Report: A third of Ben Carson’s appointees have no housing experience MORE and Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosColleges, universities seeing rise in sexual assault claims, lawsuits Support for educational choice continues to grow Stand with veterans instead of predatory for-profit colleges MORE

According to the letter, one of the plan's goals would be developing cross-federal research to better understand the effects and best control methods for lead contamination.

"Lead poisoning is an insidious menace that robs our children of their intellect and their future. For decades, efforts have been underway on many fronts to reduce and respond to lead exposure and contamination," Pruitt wrote.

Pruitt has previously highlighted his desire to focus on stopping lead contamination, calling his push a "war on lead."

"It's one of our greatest challenges in this country: lead in our drinking water ... that threatens the mental acuity of children,” Pruitt told The Washington Post in November. “I'm likely going to go to Congress next year and will ask them to do some big things. ... We can do those things together. Why do we have to continue this divisive type of approach to these very, very important issues to the country?”

However, at least one member of Congress has been critical of how much Pruitt's push would ultimately achieve.

At a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on Capitol Hill last Tuesday, Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthDems should run as economic progressives, says ex-Obama strategist Democrats must reconcile party factions to raise blue wave odds Senate Dems want DOJ review of Giuliani's work for foreign entities MORE (D-Ill.) said of Pruitt's proclamation against lead, "your rhetoric does not match your actions.”