NRDC to Senate: Safe Drinking Water No Longer a Given in the U.S.

WASHINGTON (April 7, 2016) – The Flint lead poisoning debacle flowed from “penny-wise, pound-foolish decisions” that have inflicted grievous harm to residents of that city and seriously eroded public confidence in every level of government, Erik Olson, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Director of Health,  told Congress today. Olson testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing focused on the federal role in keeping water and wastewater infrastructure affordable.

Excerpts from Olson’s testimony include:

“As the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan has now brought into national focus, the safe drinking water that we all take for granted in the United States can no longer be considered a given. There are major public health and economic impacts flowing from our failure to make appropriate decisions and failure to invest in infrastructure.

“Flint reminds us that penny-wise, pound-foolish decisions to save a few bucks can have huge costs to public health, enormous economic costs, and a corrosive impact on public trust of government.

“[T]here are clear challenges to ensuring that every American gets safe drinking water. We don’t want to create a two-tiered system where the wealthy get water that is clean and safe for their families, and the less well-to-do get second-class water that poses risks to their health.”

Olson has been fighting to improve our drinking water, clean water, and water infrastructure while working for NRDC, EPA, other nonprofits, and as a staffer for the Senate EPW Committee, for more than 30 years. His full testimony, including NRDC’s recommendations to improve federal water infrastructure investments, can be found here:

Olson’s bio can be found here:

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