EPA to Request Additional Input on the Lead and Copper Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it is extending the effective date of the Revised Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) so the agency can seek further public input, particularly from communities that are most at-risk of exposure to lead in drinking water. The EPA is committed to ensuring that the revised LCR protects families and communities—especially children—from lead, which can cause irreversible and life-long health effects, including decreasing IQ, focus, and academic achievement.

“The purpose of these two actions is to enable the EPA to conduct a thorough review of the Revised Lead and Copper Rule and fully consult with stakeholders, including those that have been disproportionately impacted by lead in drinking water,” said EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “Exposure to lead in drinking water can be a very serious problem for children’s health. It is essential that the EPA takes the time now to review this important rule to ensure that we are protecting current and future generations.”

The EPA is committed to following the best science to address lead in the nation’s drinking water and will take the appropriate time to review the revised LCR and make sure communities that have been impacted the most are protected. To accomplish this goal, the EPA has posted two pre-publication notices on its website regarding the revised LCR.

The first action is a final rule that announces an extension of the effective date for the revised LCR from March 16, 2021 until June 17, 2021. The purpose of this additional time is to enable the EPA to take public comment on a second action that would provide a longer extension of the effective date and for the EPA to undertake its review of the rule in a deliberate and thorough manner consistent with the public health purposes of the Safe Drinking Water Act, President Biden’s Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis, the President’s Chief of Staff’s Regulatory Freeze Pending Review Memorandum, and in consultation with affected stakeholders.

The second action proposes to extend the effective date until December 16, 2021 and also proposes a corresponding extension of the revised LCR’s compliance deadline to September 16, 2024. This action would ensure that drinking water systems and primacy states continue to have the full three years provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act to take actions needed to assure regulatory compliance. The EPA is seeking comment on this until April 12, 2021. To submit comments, visit  regulations.gov/docket/EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0300.

Moving forward, the EPA will maintain a flexible approach by learning from stakeholders, including communities that have been impacted by lead, drinking water utilities, and EPA’s state partners, incorporating the best available science, and adapting solutions to meet needs at the local level. The EPA will deploy the full suite of our capabilities to help communities—especially low-income communities and those who have been historically disproportionately impacted by water-related challenges—reduce exposure to lead in drinking water.

For more information, visit epa.gov/safewater.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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