Two prominent BC alums joined forces on Oct. 19 to discuss environmental justice and public access to safe, potable water. The virtual summit, hosted by Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan ’79 and featuring US Senator Ed Markey ’72 of Massachusetts, brought together a number of public health advocates, environmental law academics, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials to answer questions and draw attention to the ongoing crisis wracking certain marginalized communities.
Threatened water supplies came to public attention in 2014, when Michigan infamously declared a state of emergency concerning dangerous levels of lead and other contaminants in Flint’s water supply. In the years since, environmental justice advocates have spent considerable time and efforts fighting on behalf of communities that are disproportionately affected by unsafe drinking water.
Last year, Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—commonly known as the bipartisan infrastructure bill—which earmarked over $50 billion for the EPA to invest in drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. To date, it stands as the single largest investment the federal government has ever made in water.
Senator Markey, a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, has long held infrastructure and environmental justice as a priority since he was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1976.
Watch a recording of the summit here.