WASHINGTON — During the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee’s first hearing on developing an infrastructure bill, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), the senior-most Democrat on EPW’s Fisheries, Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, stressed the importance of water infrastructure and roadway congestion reduction in any comprehensive transportation and infrastructure package. A video of Duckworth’s remarks during the hearing is available here.

“To truly build back better, we must prioritize drinking water and wastewater infrastructure because it’s long overdue for Congress to place as much importance on what is built underground as we do on above ground projects that all can see,” said Duckworth. “Along with these water priorities, we should find ways to reduce roadway congestion and I’m confident we can build broad, bipartisan support for these efforts. I will continue to work to ensure our forthcoming infrastructure packages treat these needs as the national priorities that they are for millions of Americans.”

As a member of EPW, Duckworth has been a strong advocate for protecting the Great Lakes from threats like toxic pollution and invasive species. She worked to secure provisions within the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) 2020 Reauthorization to enhance protections for Chicago shorelines, advance Illinois lock and dam modernization projects, increase funding for Great Lakes port and harbor projects, safeguard the Great Lakes from the scourge of Asian Carp and advance critical improvement projects along Chicago-related waterways. Duckworth also introduced the Great Lakes Water Protection Act to improve water quality in the Great Lakes and create a dedicated fund to help clean up sewage in the Great Lakes.

Senator Duckworth called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement changes to improve drinking water safety at childcare facilities after a Government Accountability Office investigation revealed that among Head Start centers, only 26 percent reported testing facility drinking water for lead contamination, while an estimated 43 percent never tested facility drinking water for lead contamination and 31 percent did not know whether facility drinking water had ever been tested. She introduced the Get the Lead out of Military Housing Act to protect military families from the threat of lead poisoning in their homes and schools. Duckworth also re-introduced the National Opportunity for Lead Exposure Accountability and Deterrence (NO LEAD) Act to help ensure drinking water across our nation is safe from lead and copper contamination, as well as the bipartisan Get the Lead out of Assisted Housing Act to protect families living in assisted housing from lead found in drinking water.

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