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Biden good with lead in drinking water

The Biden administration said Wednesday it was delaying the effective date of a policy intended to prevent lead pollution of drinking water, continuing a decades-old debate over how to remove a serious health hazard to children.

The Environmental Protection Agency said it was suspending a regulatory rewrite completed by the Trump administration in December, which is being challenged in court by numerous states and advocacy groups.

The agency has not decided whether to seek changes but wants to review the revised rule, take public input and consult with affected parties, a spokeswoman said.

Critics contend the new measure is weak and gives public utilities too long to replace aging, lead-tainted pipes such as those that contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan.

“It is essential that EPA takes the time now to review this important rule to ensure that we are protecting current and future generations,” said Radhika Fox, acting assistant administrator for water.

The overhaul had been scheduled to take effect March 16. Instead, the date was pushed to June 17 to allow comments on an additional proposed delay until Dec. 16.

Also, the agency wants to bump the compliance deadline to Sept. 16, 2024, giving drinking water systems 3 years to meet the new requirements.

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