A judge has rejected the last challenge to a rule that could cause the billion-dollar replacement of 500,000 lead water pipes in Michigan.

Local governments sued, saying a rule to further restrict the amount of lead allowed in drinking water is an illegal unfunded mandate from the state.

But Judge Christopher Murray at the Court of Claims says certain financial protections under the Headlee Amendment aren't triggered in this case because local governments have chosen to provide water. He said Wednesday there's no mandate that they're required to provide the service.

After the Flint water scandal, Gov. Rick Snyder dropped the action level for lead from 15 parts per billion to 12 by 2025. Lead lines connecting water mains to houses and other buildings will be replaced by 2040.

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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