PHOENIX – Following pressure from his lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is pleased to announce that the federal government will finally permit critical protections against lead and copper in drinking water to go into effect. The Biden Administration had already twice delayed the effective date of those protections and was set to do so a third time before Arizona and other states challenged the legality of those delays.
“Ensuring safe drinking water is available in our communities should not be a controversial issue,” said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “It is the first thing we must do to protect all of our children."
In January 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The LCRR will reduce lead in public water systems, schools, homes, and other facilities. The LCRR requires, for the first time, community water systems to conduct testing for lead in drinking water and public education in schools and child care facilities. Lead is a particularly dangerous neurotoxin, which is acutely harmful to children whose brains are still developing. The brains of children exposed to lead are often permanently damaged and can lead to lifelong developmental and behavioral problems.
The Biden Administration refused to implement the EPA’s LCRR even though it was finalized in January 2021 and was set to go into effect on March 16, 2021. Instead of implementing the LCRR, President Biden issued two delays and directed the EPA to further review the LCRR.
In July 2021, Attorney General Brnovich led a coalition of five states to force the federal government to implement the LCRR, arguing the delays cause irreparable damage to states, both from permanent medical injuries to their residents and through irrecoverable financial harms, including Medicaid.
EPA’s action will now permit the LCRR to go into effect, and the benefits that EPA concedes are at least “not … worthless”—and actually exceptionally important for the affected children who would otherwise experience permanent brain injuries—to be effectuated.
Joining Attorney General Brnovich are the attorneys general of Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas.