FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Hannah Burke, (202) 276-2410
April 12, 2017
Baltimore, MD – In response to a memo released by David Bloom, acting Chief Financial Officer of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), calling for the elimination of two programs critical to protecting the nation’s children from lead poisoning, President and CEO of the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), Ruth Ann Norton, released the following statement:
“Failing to fully fund programs which protect children from lead poisoning contradicts the very goal stated by President Trump to repair crumbling communities and lift the trajectory of America’s families. Lead poisoning is irreversible, and yet entirely preventable – investing in its prevention protects children and saves money for taxpayers and families alike.
“The $14 million in proposed EPA funding cuts to the state and tribal lead programs would also have devastating consequences. Without EPA support, many states would be left without any lead certified inspectors and contractors, or any infrastructure to address lead hazards.
“The EPA’s determination that all states and local jurisdictions can adequately enforce the Renovation Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) for which the EPA is currently responsible, is without merit. Most states lack the basic capacity to sufficiently enforce the rule, and most would take several years to find a revenue source for local program oversight. Coupled with the proposed elimination of lead prevention grants at the EPA and Community Development Block Grant at HUD, states will have little ability to support or advance primary prevention initiatives which have resulted in a 90% reduction in lead poisoning since 1993.
“Children poisoned by lead are 7 times more likely to drop out of school, 6 times more likely to end up in the criminal justice system, and the economic cost to taxpayers is estimated at $50.9 billion per year. Morally, socially, and economically, we simply cannot afford to reverse years of lead poisoning prevention progress, which is a certainty if these proposed cuts are sustained.
“There is no better example of being penny-wise and pound foolish with our children’s future. It has been well established that for every dollar invested in the prevention of lead poisoning, taxpayers receive a return between $17 to $221.
“We strongly urge Congress to maintain the $16.6 million in the final EPA budget for: oversight and enforcement of the RRP Rule, Lead Safe Housing Rule, Title X and other lead regulations, state and tribal lead contractor and inspector accreditation program support, and lead outreach and environmental justice grant programs.”