Community Empowerment Association
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, let me just start by saying thank you all for the — for this meeting and for this conversation.
Secretary Fudge and I have been — together with Administrator Regan from the EPA — have been working on this issue for quite some time, thinking about it deeply in terms of the significance and the seriousness of it and the impact in terms of what we’re doing to fix it.
In fact, the Administrator and I have been on what we call a roadshow — (laughter) — going around the country, talking about lead pipes.
And so, it’s good to be back in Pittsburgh. And it’s good to be back with you, as leaders, to think about how we can continue to get the word out about the rights that people in the community have to expect this is going to be handled with a sense of urgency, with a sense of speed, and also to talk about why it is important in terms of —
You know, there are, I think, three principles at play, really. You know, there’s the piece that is about equity — right? — which is literally different communities are — are dealing with this differently based on what resources they have. And that shouldn’t be the case.
It’s an issue that is obviously about public health, in terms of the harm.
And then there’s the issue, because of the harm that is — that makes it an issue, that’s also about education, meaning: Can our babies learn if they’re drinking toxic water? Right?
So that’s why they’re here: to have this conversation with you and — and to highlight the work that that the Secretary and the Administrator are doing through the agencies and on behalf of our administration to finally deal with this issue in a substantial way and see it through in terms of what we know can be done when we prioritize it.
So, with that, I thank you all. And we’ll begin our discussion now.