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Biden Water Pipe Proposal Responds to Keen Public Concern for Clean Water

President Joe Biden’s plan to replace every lead water pipe in the country with infrastructure that won’t damage children’s brains responds to Americans’ greatest environmental concern. A new Gallup poll finds that water pollution—both in our drinking water and in our rivers, lakes, and reservoirs—draws more concern from more Americans than other environmental issues:

Megan Brenan, "Water Pollution Remains Top Environmental Concern in U.S.," Gallup, 2021.04.19.
Megan Brenan, “Water Pollution Remains Top Environmental Concern in U.S.,” Gallup, 2021.04.19.

Of six environmental problems facing the U.S., Americans remain most worried about those that affect water quality. Majorities express “a great deal” of worry about the pollution of both drinking water (56%) and rivers, lakes and reservoirs (53%).

Fewer, though still substantial minorities ranging between 40% and 45%, express a great deal of concern about the loss of tropical rain forests, global warming or climate change, air pollution, and the extinction of plant and animal species. Although less than half of Americans register the highest level of worry about these four issues, broad majorities say they worry at least “a fair amount” about each [Megan Brenan, “Water Pollution Remains Top Environmental Concern in U.S.,” Gallup, 2021.04.19].

Evidently counting on the Rapture to obviate their need for a sustainable supply of clean water, Republicans express far less concern about water pollution, climate change, and other earthly degradations than Democrats:

Megan Brenan, "Water Pollution Remains Top Environmental Concern in U.S.," Gallup, 2021.04.19.
Brenan, 2021.04.19.

Hey, Republicans, how about we make a deal? All of you who think we’re not long for this sin-filled world and thus don’t have to make an effort to save it can go ahead with your personality-cult breakfasts and pray to your idols. But just stay out of the way of President Biden and the rest of us, the majority of us, who think Earth matters and who want to use science and good sense to solve problems and maintain a livable habitat for generations to come.

Take a Pascalian perspective: if we’re wrong and the Rapture is coming, replacing lead pipes won’t stop your divine salvation. But if you’re wrong and we’re stuck in this material realm, we’re going to need clean water and healthy brains for as long as we can last.

Related Reading:

  • Sioux Falls replaced the last of its lead water pipes with copper in 2017.
  • In 2014, around three dozen Pierre homes tested high for lead in their water.
  • The DENR (now rebranded in its web banner as the DANR, for the agribusiness interests who have taken over and supposedly know more about water quality than environmental experts) provides information about lead in drinking water here.


  1. John 2021-04-20

    There are 3 types of infrastructure: physical, intellectual, and human.
    Physical includes roads, bridges, airports, seaports, electrical grid, water and sewer works, etc.
    Intellectual includes internet and its service, schools, etc.
    Human includes daycare (which allows parents to enter the job market), health, safety, etc.
    Do-nothing repubs only recognize the first. Even then they presided over 4-years of infrastructure getting worse.

  2. Porter Lansing 2021-04-20

    Honoring Water Protectors ~

    -Lives Lived: LaDonna Allard helped kick off the movement opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline by donating her land to be used as the site of a resistance camp.

    -She has died at 64.

  3. jake 2021-04-20

    Thanks, Porter. May she rest in Peace!

  4. Richard Schriever 2021-04-21

    An interesting topic on NPR yesterday spoke about the contribution to our economic success that is attributable to ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS – that work for free, such as plant pollinators that make our food production possible, plants themselves that transform carbon laden air into oxygenated air, things like worms and voles who till the soils, and the soils themselves that capture and store nutrients, ands water. The estimate is that those “free services” provided to us by our environment amount more to triple any other factor in our economic calculus. Also mentioned was the value of the collective pool – or ocean – of knowledge, skills, memory, attitude and abilities of our human populace, which is NOT to be confused with wage/salary compensation for specific task performance.

    Maybe part of the reason damage to our environment and the importance of appreciation of human diversity is so often ignored is because we use a faulty formula for estimating economic values? As Joseph Campbell so powerfully pointed out, the structure of our story – the “mythos” – is extremely important in shaping human and cultural behaviors. I would posit that the structure of our calculus is every bit as important.

  5. Porter Lansing 2021-04-21

    Richard’s highly intellectual post made me think of one thing, above all else.
    “That’s the way Indian culture looks at life.”

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