Rep. Boccieri Calls For Replenishing Empty State Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund
Says water contamination crisis warrants tapping into rainy day fund
February 16, 2016
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State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today called for renewed funding for the Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund, a reserve created in 2003 to support efforts to shutter or renovate lead-contaminated homes and enhance lead screenings of at-risk children. The Plain Dealer recently reported that the state fund has sat empty since the day it was established. 

“This fund could be a critical part of the long-term fix for our current water contamination problems,” said Boccieri. “We are rightfully focused on executing the short-term fix of helping residents get access to clean water and screening tests, but we still desperately need proactive initiatives to make sure that we’re protecting our communities into the future.”

Ohio’s $3.8 million overall budget for lead contamination programs is primarily supported through federal grants. According to the Plain Dealer report, the Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund’s weak initial source of revenue paired with subsequent failed efforts to direct additional money to the reserve has kept it unfunded since inception. In light of the Sebring water contamination crisis, Rep. Boccieri has suggested tapping into the lush Rainy Day Fund to revive revenue for lead poisoning prevention.

“We're sitting on over two billion dollars in the rainy day fund – even the interest alone recovered from the rainy day account could likely help fund lead poisoning prevention and recovery,” said Boccieri. “The Sebring water crisis and the risk of widespread water contamination in other parts of the state certainly justifies using revenue from this funding source, rather than just letting it sit.”

Earlier this month, Rep. Boccieri announced plans for legislation to tighten state standards for lead contamination testing and public notification procedures. The proposed bill would require the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and local boards of health to notify residents of lead contamination within 30 days of an abnormal water test result. 

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