EPA Leader Criticizes Government Efforts To Improve Rural
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy said Thursday that she
was disappointed by the slow progress state, federal and local governments have
made in bringing potable drinking water to small towns in the San Joaquin
"We've got rural communities that don't have clean
water and there's no plan on how to get it to them," said in a meeting
with Los Angeles Times editors and reporters.
McCarthy's comments follow the federal government's threat
this spring to cut off clean drinking water funding because state officials
have been sitting on more than $455 million in unspent federal money. The EPA
also faulted the state Department of Public Health for a lack of financial accountability
with the funds.
Residents and activists in small communities across the
state said they were forced to pay for bottled water while remedies to the
non-potable water that came out of their pipes were delayed year after year
because of red tape.
The state public health agency issued a 16-page plan this
summer to improve the distribution of federal money, including a pledge to
distribute more than $800 million over the next three fiscal years — four times
as much as in the last three.
McCarthy's visit included stops in San Francisco and the
Fresno area, where she met with farmers and activists about water and air
The EPA also announced this week that it has awarded
California $174 million in federal funding to invest in water infrastructure
projects, including $79 million to the California Department of Public
Health for the its Drinking Water State Revolving Fund
and $95 million to the California State Water Resources Control Board for
its Clean Water State Revolving Fund.
“In the last 26 years, EPA has provided more than $4 billion in funding
for California water projects alone,” said Jared
Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator of EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region.
“Without this investment at the federal level, many communities would not be
able to satisfy Californians’ basic needs for clean and safe drinking water.”
Nevertheless, earlier this year, the state's public health
agency estimated that 200,000 Californians at any one time are served by a
water system that violates state health standards. But some legislators say the
number is as high as 2.1 million when communities not served by publicly
regulated water systems are counted.
Labels: californians and non-potable water, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy laments lack of clean water in San Joaquin Valley, Gina McCarthy in California, lack of potable water