Dear Governor Lee:
On behalf of Tennessee residents and Tennessee Clean Water Network (TCWN) members, I urge you to sign a Notice of Intent to Participate (NOIP) in EPA’s WIIN Grant: Lead Testing in School and Child Care Program Drinking Water. Only states and tribes are eligible to apply. This letter is due by February 11, 2019.
As you know, TN legislature passed a bill requiring school districts to test for lead in drinking water at all schools built before 1998. But that bill was an unfunded mandate, with no protocol for testing. That is a clear case of environmental injustice. Where are low-income school districts going to find the money to comply? The answer lies within this grant.
EPA's WIIN Grant website says the following:
EPA mailed letters to governors on September 21, 2018 announcing this noncompetitive grant. A Notice of Intent to Participate (NOIP) letter from the state governor or designee to the Administrator of EPA is required to certify one state agency as the recipient of funds who has the legal and administrative authority to enter into a grant or cooperative agreement with EPA. NOIP letters are due to EPA on February 11, 2019.
I have contacted EPA, and as of last week, they had not received an NOIP from State of TN.
Note that the NOIP does not obligate State of TN or any department within to anything at all. It just makes State of TN eligible to submit a full proposal in April/May 2019. Please at least submit the NOIP now, and then the Governor’s Office and the Departments of Education, Health, and Environment & Conservation can determine which agency(ies) will be responsible for implementation.
Also know that lead in school drinking water is a primary program and concern for TCWN, so it would like to offer its support in any way possible to develop and implement this grant and its lead testing requirements.