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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 PruittMajor unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight Democratic lawmaker calls for DOJ investigation of entire Trump administration 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 TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit 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 SessionsAlabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Tuberville incorrectly says Gore was president-elect in 2000 Next attorney general must embrace marijuana law reforms MORE, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonBen Carson says he's 'out of the woods' after being 'extremely sick' with COVID-19 Ben Carson says he used unproven COVID-19 treatment recommended by MyPillow CEO Chelsea Clinton blames Trump for Secret Service officers in quarantine MORE and Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosWomen set to take key roles in Biden administration America has a civic education problem — here's how to fix it Biden's Education secretary must expel the harmful policies of the last four years 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 DuckworthOvernight Defense: Trump orders troop drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq | Key Republicans call Trump plan a 'mistake' Top Democrat calls Trump's Afghan drawdown 'the right policy decision' as others warn of 'mistake' Overnight Defense: Another Defense official resigns | Pentagon chief says military 'remains strong' despite purge | Top contender for Biden DOD secretary would be historic pick MORE (D-Ill.) said of Pruitt's proclamation against lead, "your rhetoric does not match your actions.”