| AWWA Statement on EPA’s request to halt litigation over the Revised Lead and Copper Rule
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AWWA Statement on EPA’s request to halt litigation over the Revised Lead and Copper Rule

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked the court to halt litigation over the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions in Newburgh Clean Water Project v. U.S. EPA. American Water Works Association CEO David LaFrance issued the following statement.

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) is committed to working toward a day when the potential for lead in drinking water is removed from every household and every community. Our 50,000 members are already working to implement the revised Lead and Copper Rule (LCRR) and AWWA actively supports our members through research, guidance, and training.

AWWA is pleased that EPA asked to halt the litigation of the LCRR while the EPA continues to consider changes to the Rule. Today’s request avoids needless litigation while EPA takes those steps. Regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act is best crafted through the federal rulemaking process, where there are safeguards for public involvement, use of sound science, and benefit-cost analysis.

EPA promulgated the LCRR in January 2021, under the Trump Administration. On Dec. 17, 2021, the Biden Administration decided to proceed with implementing the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions and to issue a proposal to revise aspects of the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions at a later date. EPA has set the ambitious goal of completing this rulemaking before Oct. 16, 2024.

The LCRR is a complicated rule, with many interwoven components. Even small changes in the rule warrant careful consideration by the EPA, state primacy agencies, water systems, and the public. The regulatory process provides an opportunity for review and input that is critical to ensuring that the final promulgated rule is a coherent, implementable regulatory framework.

Water utilities will continue to be leaders in the monumental task of removing lead service lines. This will require time and collaboration with property owners, manufacturers, state regulators, federal agencies, financing authorities, plumbers, code officials, local governments, and many others.

Together, over the last three decades, we as a nation have dramatically reduced the levels of environmental exposure to lead, including in drinking water. AWWA and our members remain committed to further reducing the risk of lead and assuring that the country is served by water systems that provide their communities with safe and reliable drinking water service.

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Established in 1881, the American Water Works Association is the largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water, the world’s most vital resource. With approximately 50,000 members, AWWA provides solutions to improve public health, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance our quality of life.