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Press Release

Bill Preventing the Next Flint Passes Committee

Bishop Denounces Minority Committee Members for Blind Partisan Opposition

Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources held a markup on four bills including H.R. 5032 (Rep. Dave Brat, R-VA). The bill removes a federal land-use restriction on a piece of land in the town of Louisa, Virginia so that it may be repurposed to provide residents with a safe supply of drinking water.  

Louisa has spent millions of dollars studying ways to comply with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water quality standards, yet the drinking water remains contaminated. The only solution is to build and operate a well on park land purchased in part with Land Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) assistance grants, but the National Park Service (NPS) will not allow it. In 2015, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, on behalf of the town, sought an exception to the LWCF land-use restriction, which was denied.

H.R. 5032, which is supported by the town of Louisa and the local chapter of the NAACP, passed by a vote of 22-12, with every Democrat Member of the Committee in attendance voting to oppose the bill.

Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement:

“The Democrats who opposed this bill chose partisan dogma over clean drinking water for a community that desperately needs it. This is political hypocrisy at its worst. The minority showed us today they’d rather take marching orders from radical special interest groups and welcome another Flint crisis than do the right thing and let this community build a well. This is a case study on why LWCF must be updated to reflect reality and account for local needs. I applaud Congressman Brat in moving this legislation forward for the residents of Louisa.”

H.R. 5032 will end the conflict between EPA and NPS regulations and give Louisa residents access to clean drinking water. Under the bill, LWCF’s land use restrictions shall not apply to any portion of the land known as the ‘‘Community Park’’ in the town that is used for activities designed to improve compliance with water quality standards.

Click here to learn more about H.R. 5032.