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As Democrats in Congress craft a federal budget reconciliation package designed to address climate change and expand the social safety net, advocates are also urging that the bill include the funds needed to replace 100% of lead pipes, which have emerged as a significant hazard in places like Lewiston and other areas around the county.
The push for such funding in the $3.5 trillion budget bill — which is set to go through the reconciliation process to avoid a Republican filibuster — became more urgent, experts said, after a bipartisan infrastructure bill approved by the U.S. Senate last month included just $15 billion for removal of lead pipes. Advocates have argued that is not nearly enough to replace all lead pipes around the U.S., with estimates of the total cost ranging from $28 billion to as high as $60 billion.
“It would be unconscionable for our country to pass a major infrastructure overhaul that leaves three out of four lead pipes intact,” the Sierra Club wrote of the $15 billion proposal.
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