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Billions of dollars from the infrastructure plan are already on the way to be invested in water and pipes

2021-12-03T04:24:58.821Z

The first part of the funds is destined to improve the drinking water system and eliminate lead pipes, which are toxic especially for babies and children. In this way they hope that it will benefit the most disadvantaged communities, where many Latinos live.



By Josh Lederman -

NBC News

The federal government's first major cash injection from the bipartisan infrastructure plan is on its way to various states across the country to reform the nation's aging

drinking water system

infrastructure

and dangerous lead pipes

.

Joe Biden's government announced Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will distribute $ 7.4 billion to U.S. states, tribes and territories in 2022 focused on funds to improve the infrastructure of the service of water and in the form of loans for related works. 

The financing is part of a larger

$ 50 billion

investment

under

the water

infrastructure law

that will be distributed over five years.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan, in an interview with our sister network NBC News, said it was the "largest investment in water infrastructure in a single plan" made by the US federal government.

[Roads, internet, trains: this is what the infrastructure plan contains]

The president, Joe Biden, has indicated that the goal is to replace all the lead pipes that remain in the United States from those funds.

"The investment of this law in drinking water service is nothing short of transformative," says Regan.

"Less than three weeks after the president signed this law, it is already underway," he said.

The funds include $ 2.9 billion earmarked specifically to

replace lead pipes

, following Biden's promise that, under the plan, all remaining lead pipes in the nation will be removed. 

Another $ 866 million will be designated to take action on "

forever chemicals,

" which are per and polyfluoroalkylated chemicals (PFAS), and other

contaminants that threaten drinking water supplies

, the EPA said.

What is lead, where is it found, and how could it poison your children?

Sept.

10, 202002: 47

Yet explaining to the public exactly how they will benefit from the far-reaching plan has been a challenge for the Biden Administration.

With this goal in mind, the president last month visited a dilapidated bridge in New Hampshire and, Tuesday, a technical school in Minnesota outlining how individual communities could benefit.

Regan pointed to two examples of urgent infrastructure needs that would be addressed with the new federal funds: the untreated wastewater problem in Detroit and the lead pipes that serve hundreds of thousands of homes and schools in Chicago.

“When I think of communities like Jackson, Mississippi, and I'm having conversations with 8- and 9-year-olds who are frustrated that they have to evacuate their school because their schools' water service is inadequate, obviously you feel like it squeezes your heart. Regan said.


Troy Hernandez, right, and his partner Alexandra Reyes, live with their son Joaquin in Chicago.

The family spent $ 15,000 to change the lead pipes in their home before the boy's arrival.

Shafkat Anowar / AP

However,

the Biden Administration does not determine how all funds are spent

.

Part of the funding for the act will flow through federal grants, which the Administration may award to specific projects it deems worthwhile.

But most of the dollars will be distributed to the states, who will ultimately decide which projects they want to fund.

That has created a challenge for the Biden Administration to ensure that money is spent in a way that meets its goals, such as

concentrating funds on underserved and disadvantaged communities,

rather than other particular priorities states may have.

In a letter to governors sent Thursday and obtained by NBC News, Regan said the federal government and the states "share the same goals" and implored them to focus their share of funding in low-income, disadvantaged and minority communities.

[California Governor Declares Statewide Drought Emergency and Urges Residents to Conserve Water]

"The agency strongly urges states to maximize the potential to remove barriers and

prioritize the distribution of grant funds to disadvantaged communities

," Regan wrote. 

"It is one of EPA's top priorities to ensure that communities that have historically had difficulty accessing SRF funds (funds provided to states as investment loans) are prioritized," he said.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2021-12-03

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