Press Release

February 3, 2011

Washington, DC –
U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, praised the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its work keeping America’s drinking water safe and urged his colleagues to support the long-overdue reauthorization of the
Water Infrastructure Financing Act. Senator Cardin made his remarks at an EPW hearing Wednesday on public health and drinking water issues.
“Marylanders and all Americans deserve clean, safe water for themselves and their families. And for many years, in the wake of seminal laws like the
Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, many of us took for granted that the water coming out of our taps was safe to drink. But recent news that contaminants like chromium-6 have been found is making us wonder if it really is safe.
“I am glad we have an Environmental Protection Agency whose job it is under the
Safe Drinking Water Act to study chemicals and compounds in our drinking water, decide what is safe and what isn’t, and set standards for treatment that protect our health.  It’s a job the agency did this week when it reversed a Bush-era decision and announced that it will set a standard for perchlorate, a chemical that we know impairs brain development in fetuses and young children. 
“America cannot remain the best place in the world to live and do business without reliable access to safe and clean water. But keeping dangerous chemicals out of our water is not enough to ensure safety. The major water main breaks that have become near epidemic in our region and elsewhere tell us that our water infrastructure is in dire straits and is in desperate need of new attention and greater investment. Infrastructure investment in water systems also has one of the highest job creation potentials when compared across other broad categories of public infrastructure investment.
“For these reasons I’ve asked the President to include water in his six-year plan for infrastructure investment. It’s also why, as Chairman of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, I will have no higher priority than the reauthorization of the
Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Funds. Through these funds, the federal government provides critical foundational funding that allows for infrastructure improvements in communities all around this country.”