Water pollution

The lead-pipe danger lurking underground

A lead service line water pipe is exposed in Flint, Michigan.
A lead service line water pipe is exposed by a City of Flint, Michigan work crew as workers prepare to replace the pipe at a home with high lead levels in drinking water. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Households across the country may be at risk of drinking lead-tainted water as lead pipes age underground and municipalities struggle to balance high replacement costs with a slew of other urgent infrastructure projects.

Why it matters: Exposure to any amount of lead is highly dangerous, especially for children. The public health disasters in Flint and Newark have dominated headlines, but more than 6 million lead service pipes are buried beneath U.S. cities — and the Government Accountability Office believes that's a low estimate.

EPA repeals Obama-era clean water regulation

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday repealed an Obama-era water protection that curbed the use of polluting chemicals near wetlands, streams and other bodies of water, the New York Times reports.

The big picture, per the Times: Trump's "administration, with help from Republicans in Congress, has often targeted environmental rules it sees as burdensome to the fossil fuel industry and other big businesses." Trump campaigned on Thursday's rollback, deeming the regulation an infringement on property rights — especially for farmers.