The leading Democrat on the Senate environment committee tried to guilt Republicans into agreeing to adding a ban on lead to a bill about hunters and anglers Wednesday, citing the water crisis in Flint, Mich., but she failed.
"In light of Flint, I think it is important," Sen. Barbara Boxer said in offering the amendment, although she was skeptical before a voice vote was taken that it had enough GOP backing to make it into the bill.
Her amendment was voted down by recorded voice vote, 9-12.
The Flint crisis has captured the national spotlight in recent days, with presidential candidates putting pressure on the state's Gov. Rick Snyder to take action.
In April 2014, Flint switched its water source from the Detroit sewer agency, which draws water from Lake Huron, to a local agency that also would take water from the lake. However, the infrastructure needed to get water from Lake Huron to Flint under the new agency was not yet built, so an emergency manager appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder decided to take water from the Flint River as a temporary measure.
The water from the Flint River is so polluted and acidic that the water ate away at the lead pipes bringing water to the city's homes. Studies are finding an increase in the number of Flint children with too much lead in their systems.
Boxer's amendment would ban lead under the Toxic Substances Control Act, so items such as lead weights for fishing do not pollute waterways. But "I don't think" it will pass, she said during a markup of the bill.
Boxer also strongly opposed an amendment that the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee approved to de-list the gray wolf as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. She said the amendment goes against court precedent and a popular law to protect animal species.