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Gov. Kasich signs Ohio’s landmark lead in drinking water protection bill into law

Yesterday, I joined Ohio EPA and Governor John Kasich to celebrate the official signing of HB 512 into law. That’s right! Ohio’s landmark bill to keep lead out of drinking water is officially the law of the land.

Your action on this issue, from donating, to contacting the Governor, to sharing my blog posts, means the world to me. We couldn’t have pushed this bill forward without you. You can read my comments from the event below:

Hello and thank you Director Butler. I’d like to start by saying thank you to Governor Kasich for his leadership on this. Without your prompt and steady leadership, this landmark bill and all it does for Ohio’s families and children could not have happened.

My name is Melanie Houston and I work for the Ohio Environmental council on issues of environmental health and access to safe drinking water and clean air. At the OEC, we work every day to  secure healthy air, land and water for all who call Ohio home.

This work is critical because our environment isn’t just some far off place where we go hiking, it’s also something as simple and concrete as the water we drink and the air we breathe.

As an environmental advocate and policy expert, I believe this bill puts Ohio at the front of the pack in protecting its citizens from lead contamination through our drinking water.

And as a mother, nothing matters more to me than the health and safety of my daughter. No parent should be left wondering whether the water their child is drinking at home or at school is safe. That’s exactly why this bill is so essential.

It’s increasingly popular these days to criticize the political process as moving too slow, to point to the polarization and partisan bickering and say that the system is broken…

But this law shows what can happen when our leaders pull together and rise to the challenge– when leaders reach across the aisle and focus on what needs to be done.

Thanks to the leadership of Governor Kasich, Director Butler, Representative Ginter, and Senator Schaivoni, Ohio is now a national leader in protecting families and communities from the risks of lead exposure in drinking water. Instead of pointing fingers and passing the buck, they worked expediently and deliberately to pass common sense legislation to better protect Ohio’s families and children from lead exposure in their tap water.

This comprehensive legislation will ensure:

  • More attention on properly treating water to prevent a lead problem in the first place
  • Timely public notification when there is a lead problem
  • Mechanisms for accountability and enforcement
  • Better public transparency, including tools for communities and residents to  assess their risk.

Nobody should have to worry about the safety of the water they are drinking. Thanks to Governor Kasich, the Ohio EPA, and the Ohio Legislature, our children, our families, and our communities are now better protected.

We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Governor, the Ohio EPA and leaders in the legislature to make sure that every Ohioan has access to safe drinking water, clean air, and a healthy natural environment.