EPA Should Boost Oversight of State Drinking Water Systems: Report

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency needs to boost its oversight of state drinking water systems, the agency's inspector general says in a new report.

It also called on the EPA to act more quickly when there are public health emergencies, such as when tap water in Flint, Michigan became contaminated with lead after officials switched from the Detroit system to the Flint River to save money, the Associated Press reported.

EPA inspector general Arthur Elkins noted "oversight lapses" by federal, state and local officials in response to the Flint water crisis.

In a statement, the EPA said it agrees with the inspector general's recommendations and is adopting them "expeditiously," the AP reported.

However, the inspector general says the EPA's plans for increasing oversight don't go far enough.

The Trump administration wants to cut the EPA's budget, including some drinking-water programs, and to reduce federal environmental regulation overall and transfer more oversight of some programs to the states, the AP reported.

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