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 PruittEPA moving ahead with science transparency rule by 'early next year' Overnight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year Trump administration to repeal waterway protections 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 TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest 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 reignites court fight with Ninth Circuit pick Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' MORE, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonBen Carson's remarks during San Francisco visit spark backlash Democrats blast HUD for removing LGBT language from grant competition Senior HUD official reprimanded for making political statements on the job MORE and Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump DeVos says Trump 'could talk about education more' Republicans to hand out 'baseball cards' mocking Gary Peters in Michigan 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 DuckworthMissouri Republican wins annual craft brewing competition for lawmakers Democrats ignore Asian American and Pacific Islander voters at their peril Republicans grumble over Trump shifting military funds to wall MORE (D-Ill.) said of Pruitt's proclamation against lead, "your rhetoric does not match your actions.”