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VP Harris to tout replacing lead lines during Milwaukee stop

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris plans to tout the removal and replacement of lead pipes during a stop Monday in Wisconsin, where she will highlight efforts to update aging infrastructure throughout the country.

Harris will promote the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law during her Milwaukee stop where she will be joined by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore.

Harris is slated to meet with community and health leaders at the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership/BIG STEP program in west Milwaukee. She also plans to meet with union members who are working to replace lead pipes.

The Biden administration announced a plan last month to replace all lead pipes over the next decade. However, Congress approved $15 billion for lead service line replacement in the infrastructure bill — about a third less than what the White House and water experts say it would cost to replace them nationally.

Of that, $48 million is being sent to Wisconsin as part of $3 billion coming to states this year, the EPA previously announced. In Milwaukee alone, Wisconsin’s largest city, the cost to replace lead pipes on all public and private property is estimated to be $800 million.

The White House estimates between 6 million and 10 million U.S. households and 400,000 schools get water through lead service lines, which connect buildings to the water main and can leach particles of the neurotoxin into drinking water and potentially cause severe developmental and neurological issues — especially when consumed by children. In recent years, the risks facing cities with lead service lines have come into focus, most notably after the Flint, Michigan, water crisis.

The visit by Harris to Wisconsin is her latest across the country to promote the infrastructure law. In her only previous stop in Wisconsin in May, Harris touted clean energy labs on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus.

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