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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

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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Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at a political event in Grand Rapids, Mich., in early 2024. (The White House/Wikimedia Commons)

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