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EPA chief says he'll seek 'workable' drinking water bill.

In a positive exchange, NLC Executive Director Don Borut and other leaders from the local government sector met with EPA Administrator William Reilly last week to discuss development of a joint legislative strategy on pending amendments (H.R. 2840) to the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The act (see NCW, Nov. 4, 1991) is pending before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and the Environment (Henry Waxman, D-Calif., Chrmn.)

The objective of the meeting with Reilly, convened at the request of the executive directors of NLC, the National Association of Counties, National Association of Towns and Townships, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies and the National Rural Water Association, was to strenghten the local government working relationship with EPA in assuring a workable and cost effective program to reduce lead in municipal drinking water supplies.

Acknowledging the "remarkable disconnect between political goals and economic costs on the Hill," Reilly assured the local government leaders that he was willing to comit both the agency and himself to assuring protection of the public against lead in drinking water without requiring the draconian and unworkable measures being proposed in the pending bill.

"The major threat of lead contamination," the administrator said, "is not from drinking water."

In response to Borut's request for help from the administrator in stimulating input from key governors to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee (John Dingell, D-Mich., Chrmn.), Reilly told the group that a number of states have already indicated to EPA that they will find implementation of EPA's June 1991 lead rule sufficiently difficult without adding the more onerous requirements proposed in H.R. 2840.

"EPA needs the states," Reilly told the group. "The agency does not have the resources to administer the [drinking water] program if the states give up primacy," he said.

Both Reilly and James Elder, director of the Office of Drinking Water, committed to working with the local government groups on the legislation, specifically with a view to assuring local governments a program that not only protects public health, but one which is both workable and cost effective in helping local water suppliers meet national drinking water standards.
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Title Annotation:Environmental Protection Agency Administrator William Reilly
Author:Kocheisen, Carol
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Nov 11, 1991
Words:358
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