Drinking Water Protection Act pushed forward by subcommittee

U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), and the House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy held a hearing on Thursday to review the Drinking Water Protection Act.

If passed, the bipartisan legislation would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to design a written strategic plan for submission to Congress. The plan must outline a process for diagnosing and dealing with the risk associated with harmful algae and related toxins in drinking water, and will be due 90 days from activation of the law.

“Some folks may be tempted to think there are easy solutions to this problem, but from our hearing this past November, we learned we have a long way to go to understand it,” Shimkus, chairman of the subcommittee, said. “The diversity of algae and their habitats only complicate the problem. The legislation we are reviewing moves in the right direction.”

The bill, which the subcommittee voted to advance, was originally introduced by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) last summer after harmful algae was discovered in Lake Erie in his home state. That lake condition resulted in a water emergency in the city of Toldeo.

“Ensuring the health of our drinking water is paramount and requires a thoughtful, robust approach,” Latta said “The Drinking Water Protection Act creates a strategic plan to assess and manage the risks associated with algal toxins in our drinking water. This legislation would establish the tools needed to respond to threats to our drinking water in a timely manner. I thank the subcommittee for advancing this legislation and look forward to working with my colleagues to get this bill signed into law.”