Biden-Harris administration announces water infrastructure plan

EXCLUSIVE: The first Black man to serve as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Michael Regan will travel to Wisconsin and Michigan to engage communities on their water infrastructure challenges and progress. 

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White House officials exclusively told theGrio that removing lead from water infrastructure will be a priority for the Biden-Harris Administration as the president sells his American Jobs Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework to Congress and the American people. 

According to sources within the White House, the first Black man to serve as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Michael Regan will travel to Wisconsin and Michigan next week. His goal for the trip is to engage communities in discussion on their water infrastructure challenges and progress. 

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Michael Regan and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg take questions during the daily press briefing at the White House on May 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

EPA Administrator Regan will deliver remarks at the White House press briefing on Wednesday to explain why water infrastructure is at the core of the administration’s agenda and equity policies, as well as sell the need for the country to finance the updates.  

Democratic Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence of Michigan is grateful to the administration for taking on the issue of access to clean water. Her district was deeply impacted by the Flint Water Crisis due to its proximity to the city. 

“This will significantly improve the quality of life for the American people and increase access to clean and safe drinking water. For far too long, our water infrastructure has been outdated and underfunded. That needs to change,” Lawrence stated. 

The midwest, specifically, is a region fraught with older water infrastructure and lead issues. According to former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Alphonso Jackson, Chicago will be the city to watch as the Biden Administration takes on the American water systems. He believes the abundance of city dwellers living in public housing is one of the reasons the water infrastructure remains in need of repair.

“Under Mayor Daley, the issue was addressed. But it was not that we could address all of the problems. We addressed some of the problems that exist in the public housing developments,” Jackson said. “It’s not his fault that we could not address it. It’s the problem that we did not have enough money allocated to address the issue at that point in time.” 

According to White House data secured by theGrio, an estimated 6 to 10 million lead service lines need to be replaced across the country. 

If passed by Congress, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework will create a $55 billion investment in the nation’s water infrastructure and will stand as the largest investment in clean drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in American history.

Jessica Floyd contributed to the reporting of this article.

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