"Undermanned EPA Delays Action on Lead in Drinking Water"

"Even after the Flint scandal reawakened the nation to the dangers posed by lead drinking water pipes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency appears to be in no rush to strengthen federal health standards.

Years after Flint declared a state of emergency in December 2015, the agency is delaying publication of rules that could prevent lead poisoning. The agency now expects a draft rule to limit the risks from lead and copper in drinking water to be published in January 2018. That is six months later than the timeline the EPA announced a year ago.

When asked for an explanation, the EPA provided few answers. 'EPA’s semiannual regulatory agenda reflects the Trump administration’s commitment to refocusing the agency on our core mission of protecting the nation’s air, water, and land while reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens on Americans,' Enesta Jones, EPA spokeswoman, wrote in an email to Circle of Blue.

Alan Roberson, executive director of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, a group that represents state drinking water programs, had a different assessment. President Trump has not nominated an assistant administrator for water, who would normally make the final call on the contents of a rule, Roberson told Circle of Blue. The turmoil in the Trump administration has broken the chain of command at the EPA, said Roberson."

Brett Walton reports for Circle of Blue August 17, 2017.

Source: Circle of Blue, 08/18/2017