EPA Lead Pipe Rule Good for Justice, But May Come at High Cost
Bobby Magill, Bloomberg Law
The EPA’s goal to replace all lead drinking water pipes in the US within 10 years is ambitious and furthers environmental justice, water attorneys and environmental groups say, but some former agency officials worry the goal may be too costly to meet.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced its proposed Lead and Copper Rule Improvements, or LCRI, which would require water utilities to replace 10% of their lead service lines annually to avoid contaminating drinking water with lead. The proposal would replace a Trump-era rule that calls for replacing just 3% of lead pipes each year.
Contamination from lead pipes “disproportionately impacts communities of color, low-income communities, Black communities,” and the rule will remedy the problem in the places where lead is “most rampant,” said Jeremy Orr, an adjunct professor at the Michigan State University College of Law and director of litigation and advocacy partnerships at Earthjustice.