After years of combatting lead contamination in cities like Newark, New Jersey’s water crisis came to a crux on Wednesday when tens of thousands of Newark residents were directed to drink only bottled water. Today, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe is slated to come to D.C. to meet with EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to find the best strategy for managing the escalating crisis.
In response, Food & Water Watch Water-For-All Director Mary Grant released the following statement:
“Flint was the bellwether of our country’s growing water crisis, and now Newark is the latest community to grapple with serious lead contamination of its drinking water. The communities most deeply impacted are predominantly older communities of color that have historically been disenfranchised.
“We need a federal recommitment to safe and clean water for all, or these terrible episodes will continue and the human right to water in America will remain tenuous and unprotected.
“Wheeler must provide immediate federal support to Newark’s efforts to provide safe water and remove lead pipes. Congress must follow the lead of elected officials like New Jersey’s Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman and Andy Kim who co-sponsored the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability (WATER) Act to ensure adequate federal funding to replace all lead service lines in Newark, across New Jersey, and in every other threatened community across the country.
“There are no ifs, ands, or buts here: we need to eliminate lead from water. The WATER Act is the most comprehensive approach to improving our water systems and helping ensure that every person has access to safe and clean water in the United States.”