ROLLING MEADOWS, IL – Members of the Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) Executive Committee and PMI Executive Director Barbara C. Higgens traveled to Washington, D.C., to present Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and James Inhofe (R-OK) and Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI) with the Legislator of the Year awards. These elected officials were recognized for their leadership and support of the PMI supported Reduction of Lead in Water Act signed into law Jan. 4 by President Barack Obama (P.L.111-380). The bill harmonizes the 0.25% maximum lead content of plumbing products and provides a 36-month implementation period.

The Legislator of the Year award is a rare honor, bestowed upon only four elected representatives since 1998. Jack Krecek, PMI president; Stewart Yang, PMI first vice president, and Lee Mercer, PMI past president, were on hand with Higgens and PMI Washington, D.C., office staff, to express their thanks and present the well-deserved awards to their recipients.

Higgens says, "PMI is grateful to these legislators for their help in securing the passage of this important bill. Without a uniform national standard, a patchwork of requirements could have emerged."

She adds, "PMI was on top of this legislation from its inception and worked to aggressively lobby members of the Senate and House to pass the bill through Capitol Hill visits, letters and phone calls to representatives. This bill harmonizes lead standards across the country. These standards were already achieved in California and in Maryland and Vermont through PMI's active lobbying efforts."

On the Senate side, passage of the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act (S. 3874) involved the bipartisan efforts of both Senators Boxer and Inhofe. Working together for several months, they both positioned the legislation in the Environment and Public Works Committee and on the Senate floor so that not one individual senator objected to S. 3874 when it voted on and passed by unanimous consent on Dec. 16, 2010.

According to Higgens, "In the waning days of the 111th Congress, Congressman Petri worked very hard to encourage his colleagues to vote in favor of the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act by writing a 'Dear Colleague' letter and urging lawmakers on the House floor for passage." In the end, the bill narrowly passed the House by a four-vote margin on Dec. 17, 2010.

"Without the dedicated efforts of Senators Boxer, chair of the Environment & Public Works Committee, and Inhofe, ranking member of the Environment & Public Works Committee and Congressman Petri, we would not have achieved this exciting victory for consumers, the plumbing manufacturing industry, and wholesalers, retailers, contractors and others involved with the production, distribution, sales and installation of these products," says Higgens.

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