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Monday, July 15, 2024

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After the Trump assassination attempt, defining democracy gets even harder; Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate; DC residents push back on natural gas infrastructure buildup; and a new law allows youth on Medi-Cal to consent to mental health treatment.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Critics: NYC bill takes wrong approach to lead pipe removal

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Monday, June 24, 2024   

A New York City bill is a catch-22 for removing lead pipes. The so-called "Rotten Apple Bill" makes city property owners remove their home's lead service lines and threatens financial penalties if they fail to comply.

Up to 41% of water service lines have or may have lead in them.

Valerie Baron, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, applauded the bill's intent but argued there are better ways to address lead service lines. She said problems can arise when property owners organize line replacement work.

"You might be digging up the street six, seven, eight different times for example," Baron pointed out. "It's also confusing. It makes it difficult to get the proper health safeguards in place, and it's not cost-effective."

Baron contended an effective program requires a mandate for lead pipe removal with the city conducting the work at no cost to homeowners. The state has received funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to replace pipes. But she noted if New York City passes the buck to homeowners, they run the risk of being ineligible for the large pot of money. State dollars have been set aside for this purpose but they do not match federal funds.

Other concerns are the health hazards of removing lead pipes. Disturbing a lead pipe can dislodge little bits of lead and further contaminate the area. Baron noted creating a centralized program ensures a home's pipes are flushed properly and the water is filtered for six months. She stressed the bill's penalties could harm the wrong people.

"It would be a $1,000 fine if you don't get that pipe out," Baron emphasized. "We're concerned that either some landlords might choose to take that fine as the cost of doing business, or other families that couldn't afford the pipe replacement won't be able to afford that $1,000 either."

The push comes as the Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing a new Lead and Copper Rule, which is expected to give municipalities nationwide 10 years to replace all existing lead pipes. There are some exceptions. The EPA's new rule could take effect in 2027.


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"I truly love our Country, and love you all, and look forward to speaking to our Great Nation this week from Wisconsin," wrote Former President Donald Trump on social media. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

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