Showing posts with label Newark water crisis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Newark water crisis. Show all posts

Friday, September 20, 2019

Booker Bill to Help Communities Get Lead Out of Drinking Water Passes House Unanimously

The House unanimously voted to pass legislation authored by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker that could help communities across the country, including Newark, remove lead from drinking water. The Water Infrastructure Funding Transfer Act now heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

Booker worked closely with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and the New Jersey House delegation after last week’s passage in the Senate to ensure the legislation was quickly acted upon in the House. Specifically, the legislation would give states facing a threat to public health from lead in drinking water the flexibility to make a one-time transfer of the federal funds in their Clean Water State Revolving Fund to their Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for projects that will remove lead from drinking water. New Jersey would be able to transfer up to $100 million in federal funds for use toward the $120 million lead service line replacement project in Newark and projects in other municipalities.

“Last night’s passage of the Water Infrastructure Funding Transfer Act puts us one step closer to helping cities like Newark address the threat of lead in drinking water,” Sen. Booker, who lives in Newark, said. “Every American should have access to safe, clean drinking water, and this legislation will allow New Jersey to provide Newark with substantial funding as Newark moves to rapidly replace lead service lines.”

“Thank you Chairman Pallone and the New Jersey delegation for their work in quickly getting my legislation passed by the House of Representatives. I urge the President to sign this into law as soon as it reaches his desk to help states make critical repairs and upgrades to their aging drinking water systems.” 

“I am pleased that the House acted swiftly to follow the Senate’s lead and pass this common sense legislation,” Sen. Menendez said. “Our bill gives states like New Jersey added flexibility to tap needed federal funding to assist our communities grappling with the challenges of aging water infrastructure. I would implore President Trump to sign this legislation without delay in order to help the residents of Newark and its surrounding communities deal with the current situation of elevated lead in their drinking water. The federal government has a role in ensuring that each family has access to safe, clean drinking water. I will continue to fight for the critical resources New Jersey needs, while holding those federal agencies accountable for ensuring the health and well-being of our residents.”

“Every American has a right to clean drinking water. It is unacceptable that Newark’s residents have been living with elevated levels of lead in their water,” Chairman Pallone said. “Federal funds exist to help communities like those in New Jersey, but for some states, that funding is constrained from being used to address lead contamination. The House acted unanimously to change that, giving New Jersey the flexibility and resources it needs to replace lead pipes and give the people of Newark the clean water they deserve. I am proud to have expedited passage of this important legislation through the House and grateful for my colleagues’ urgent attention to this public health crisis.”

“I am excited to hear that the Water Infrastructure Funding Transfer Act passed,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.  “This is a badly needed step towards cleaner water my neighbors in Newark.  The problems with Newark’s water system could occur in any city with aging pipes nationwide.  Communities need the flexibility to spend federal funding to improve their water supply when necessary because nothing is more important than the health and safety of their residents.  I have been proud to work with Senator Booker, Congressman Pallone and national as well as local agencies to fix this problem as quickly as possible.  I will continue to do so until Newark’s water is clean.”  

“All Americans deserve access to clean drinking water, and the federal government has a responsibility to help communities that are struggling to meet that goal,” Congressman Albio Sires said. “I am proud to join my New Jersey colleagues in the House and Senate in supporting the Water Infrastructure Funding Act, to give New Jersey the flexibility to use federal infrastructure funding to upgrade its water systems. This common-sense bill will go a long way towards ensuring that Newark residents have access to clean water, and it can help other communities get ahead of any potential water infrastructure issues. We are our brothers’ keepers, and we cannot fail to act when our neighbors are in trouble. The bill is now awaiting the President’s signature and I sincerely hope that he will stand with us in protecting clean water for all Americans.”

“Yesterday, the New Jersey delegation worked together to get Senator Booker’s legislation unanimously passed by the House of Representatives,” Governor Murphy said. “States and municipalities can’t upgrade our nation’s aging water infrastructure alone and, once it is signed into law, this legislation will allow New Jersey to utilize up to $100 million in federal funds to help Newark and other cities fund the replacement of lead service lines. This is amazing news for our state and I applaud our congressional delegation for their efforts.”

“Last night's vote was a huge win for the City of Newark and many communities across the United States that are dealing with older, aging infrastructure,” Mayor Ras Baraka said. “Thank you to New Jersey Senators Booker and Menendez for creating opportunities and solutions to fund critical projects that will help eliminate lead service lines and provide clean, safe and healthy water to countless families.”

Since an engineering study was released in October 2018 finding that lead was leaching into Newark’s drinking water because of ineffective corrosion treatment at one of the City’s water treatment plants, Booker has worked tirelessly in the Senate to help the city get the federal resources it needs to fix the problem. In December, Booker urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to include this measure he authored to provide a source of funding for Newark in a 2018 end-of-year spending bill. The measure wasn’t included in that spending deal, so Booker introduced the measure as a stand-alone bill in May and pushed its passage through the Environment and Public Works Committee, which he sits on, in June. The Committee filed a written report on the bill in July 2019.

Also in June, Booker worked to include the measure as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which was moving through the Senate, but it was blocked by Republicans. Booker then worked to “hot-line” the bill for Senate passage before Congress broke for recess in early August, but the effort was again blocked by Republicans. Bills can be “hot-lined” for passage, which means they do not need to come to a vote on the Senate floor, if no Senator raises objections to the bill.

Since additional serious concerns over the lead in drinking water in Newark were reported in August, Booker has aggressively and repeatedly pushed the federal government to provide more resources for the city. He has helped pass out bottled water to affected residents and he met with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 Administrator Peter Lopez to discuss EPA’s duty and on-the-ground efforts in Newark. He also—along with Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Albio Sires (D-NJ), and Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ) – urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help administer lead blood screenings for affected residents in Newark. That request followed a separate letter, Booker sent with New Jersey lawmakers urging the USDA to offer additional assistance to serve the immediate needs of Newark residents by making temporary changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC). The lawmakers also sent a letter to the EPA urging it to assist state and local efforts to deliver safe drinking water to Newark residents.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Congressman Payne, Jr. visits Two Newark Facilities to Help Distribute Bottled Water

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. handed out bottled water and discussed Newark’s water crisis with residents at two local facilities Sept. 6. The Congressman spent more than two hours at the Bo Porter Sports Complex and the Boylan Street Recreation Center, where he helped residents get the clean water they needed and talked with them about their water concerns. The visits were part of the Congressman’s commitment to do everything possible to help local communities survive the crisis.

Congressman Payne, Jr. said he understands their concerns because he is one of them.

“As a resident and representative of Newark, I am very concerned about the discovery of elevated levels of lead in Newark’s water supply,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “This is water my family and I drink regularly. Traditionally, Newark has been known for the quality of its water and had been known for some of the cleanest water in the country.”

He said the crisis in Newark is his top priority. He is working with local, state and national officials to solve it as quickly as possible. Congressman Payne, Jr. introduced the Test for Lead Act in Congress to establish stronger tests for lead in school drinking water across the country. Recently, he co-signed and sent letters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture to make sure facilities and communities have enough bottled water to distribute until the city’s drinking water is considered safe.

But he wanted to see the situation and talk with affected residents personally. He said the urgency of the issue is one that requires physical as well as political action to get clean water to communities now and then make sure nothing like this tragedy happens in the future, especially when it comes to the safety of the district’s children.

“The greatest threat with this water issue is the health of our children,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “We need to work tirelessly and immediately to guarantee what happened in Flint, MI. doesn’t happen anywhere else.”

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Booker proposes to replace all lead water pipes

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker on Tuesday called for spending $3 trillion to combat climate change while replacing lead water pipes across the country.

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate pledged to replace all lead water lines to schools, day care centers and homes, as well as remove lead from housing units, by 2028, the end of a second term in the White House. Money would come from a new Environmental Justice Fund, led by a White House adviser for environmental justice.

Booker offered his plan while officials in his home city of Newark continued to distribute bottled water to residents with high levels of lead in their water. He is a former mayor of the city and oversaw the city’s water system, though left office before lead levels spiked.

Booker announced his plan a day before he will join nine other Democratic presidential candidates at a CNN town hall on the environment.


Friday, August 16, 2019

Sen. Cory Booker’s statement on Newark Water Crisis

U.S. Cory Booker (D-NJ) released the following statement via Twitter regarding the Newark Water Crisis:

Newark’s water emergency demands our federal government’s immediate attention. Everyone deserves clean, safe water—it's shameful that our national crisis of lead-contaminated water disproportionately hits poor black and brown communities like my own.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Congressman Payne’s statement on the Newark water crisis

NJ Congressman Donald Payne Jr. released the following statement concerning the Newark Water Crisis:

”As a resident and representative of Newark, I’m very concerned about this development. Traditionally, Newark has been known for the quality of its water and had been known for some of the cleanest water in the country. We need to find out what is happening in the pipes that carry this water from the aquifers to our faucets to solve and rectify this issue immediately.

The greatest threat with this water issue is the health of our children. I introduced a bill in 2016 that would establish stronger tests for lead in school drinking water to avoid such problems in the future. The bill received 44 co-sponsors and I hope more of my colleagues support and pass it soon.

But I’m not going to wait for that bill to help improve Newark’s drinking water. I’ve called Newark’s mayor, Ras Baraka, personally to ask what I can do. I’m going to call Grace Napolitano, chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resource and the Environment and my colleague on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to discuss solutions on a national level. We need to work tirelessly and immediately to guarantee what happened in Flint, MI. doesn’t happen anywhere else.”