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 PruittMeet 3 women who stood up to Trump to protect the American people — and lost their jobs Overnight Energy: Wheeler weathers climate criticism at confirmation hearing | Dems want Interior to stop drilling work during shutdown | 2018 was hottest year for oceans Dems blast EPA nominee at confirmation hearing 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 TrumpDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Lady Gaga blasts Pence as ‘worst representation of what it means to be Christian’ We have a long history of disrespecting Native Americans and denying their humanity 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 SessionsOvernight Health Care: Thousands more migrant children may have been separated | Senate rejects bill to permanently ban federal funds for abortion | Women's March to lobby for 'Medicare for All' Acting AG Whitaker's wife defends him in lengthy email to journalist Watchdog: Thousands more migrant children separated from parents than previously known MORE, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonTop Trump official resigned over White House plan to withhold disaster-relief funds from Puerto Rico: report Trump taps Commerce watchdog to be new Interior inspector general DOJ probing whether Zinke lied to Interior investigators: report MORE and Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosDeVos recovering from broken pelvis, hip socket after bicycle accident Student veterans deserve better than the DeVos agenda Changes to Title IX enforcement are common sense 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 blast EPA nominee at confirmation hearing 116th Congress breaks records for women, minority lawmakers The 15 Democrats who voted against Pelosi MORE (D-Ill.) said of Pruitt's proclamation against lead, "your rhetoric does not match your actions.”