Cory Booker announced legislation Monday he planned on introducing to address lead in drinking water at Hackensack High School.
By Sara Jerde
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
HACKENSACK, NJ -- Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), alongside U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, environmentalists and other local elected officials announced Monday he would introduce legislation to ramp up efforts to get the lead out of the water in schools.
Booker's legislation, dubbed the "Get the Lead Out of Schools Act" would put a grant program in place to assist local schools with replacing antiquated piping and would require schools to be consistently monitored for lead levels under the nation's Lead and Copper Rule.
Resolving the lead issue is part of a larger, wasteful water crisis in the country, he said.
"We have work to do and this legislation is an important step in dealing with the larger crisis because it puts our children first," Booker said.
Gottheimer, (D-5th District), was also at the news conference on Monday. He introduced a bill, dubbed the "Lead Free Schools Act" in April. The bill's requirements would include funds for testing and improving infrastructure and would require schools to annually report the status of their lead tests.
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"Schools are meant to be a safe place, yet we're sending our children to quietly incur the wrath of lead in their drinking water," Gottheimer said.
The lawmakers' announcements come after higher than normal levels of lead have been detected in water fountains and faucets in schools throughout North Jersey.
The lawmakers were backed by environmentalists who agreed that there was work to be done, particularly in New Jersey.
"We need to stand up for our children, we need to stand up for our communities," Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said.
The legislation could face opposition in the charged D.C. climate, with a Republican-controlled Congress and White House.