Climate Action

Safe School Drinking Water Coming To New York

On June 29th, Earth Day Network send a letter of support to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on his Governor’s Program bill on Safe School Drinking Water. The bill was borne out of the discovery of lead in several school district water sources in upstate NY. Senator George Amedore, a co-sponsor of the bill, stated “Many of our school building throughout New York State are old. With old infrastructure, lead can lead to damaging health issues, particularly in young children, and the health and safety of our children in our schools needs to be a priority.” The bill would start with mandatory school water testing, with the exception of building built after 2014. Schools testing negative for lead or other water contaminates would be given a waiver, while schools with unacceptable amounts of lead would be eligible for financial assistance for remediation and continued water testing. Contaminated water is an emerging public health crisis. We applaud New York state and Governor Cuomo for taking the first step towards healthier, greener, better schools for our children.     Governor Andrew Cuomo, On behalf of Earth Day Network’s over 300,000 active members, we would like to express our gratitude and support for your bill on Safe School Drinking Water. This bill will help protect children across the state of New York from lead poisoning from contaminated school drinking and cooking water. This legislation also sets an example for other states to protect their children from contaminated water sources and to make schools a healthier place. At Earth Day Network, the condition of America’s school buildings is one of our largest priorities. One in five Americans, more than 65 million children and teachers, spend his or her days in our nation’s 140,000 K-12 schools. That is eight hours a day, five days a week, nine to ten months a year. Nothing in the US is as big in scope or in time as children and teachers in school. An additional 100 million people are parents of those children. That means that over 60% of Americans have a strong vested interest in the condition of our schools. Many recent reports demonstrate that the vast majority of our nation’s school facilities are in serious disrepair. A recent report by the United States Green Building Council Center for Green Schools found that the nation needed to spend about $145 billion per year to maintain, operate, and renew facilities, underinvesting by a staggering $46 billion annually. This backlog of maintenance and operation costs often include water quality testing and updates to plumbing in older buildings that may contain lead. Earth Day Network believes the New York Governor’s Program bill on Safe School Drinking Water is critically important for both our schools and setting an example for other states across the nation that healthy schools should be a priority. We ask you, Governor Cuomo, to please sign this bill today! Sincerely,   Karena Mary Ruggiero, PhD Director of Education, Earth Day Network 1616 P Street NW, Washington DC 20036