Energy & Environment

EPA to jumpstart ‘war on lead’ with strategy meeting

Greg Nash

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt 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 Trump’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 Sessions, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. 

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 Duckworth (D-Ill.) said of Pruitt’s proclamation against lead, “your rhetoric does not match your actions.”

Tags Ben Carson Betsy DeVos Donald Trump EPA Jeff Sessions Lead Scott Pruitt Tammy Duckworth task force White House

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