EPA chief visits Indiana waste site amid proposed budget cuts

Posted April 20, 2017

During a meeting Wednesday with residents of East Chicago's lead-contaminated neighborhoods, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt countered reports that the EPA intends to close its regional office in Chicago.

The statement issued by the EPA on April 13 said the rule has been estimated to cost $480 million per year and has a reported average cost of $1.2 billion per year during the first five years of compliance.

Pruitt did not address the report of the possible office closure or how drastic budget cuts would impact the EPA's operations.

Barbara Bolling-Williams, state president of the IN branch of the NAACP, said she is cautiously optimistic following Pruitt's visit, but added that his visit comes with the threat of "a skinnier EPA budget, fewer regulations - and rumors Chicago's regional EPA office could be shut down looms IN the background".

Last week, Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, traveled to Sycamore, Pennsylvania and, speaking before the coal miners at Harvey Mine, announced that the EPA would be advancing a "Back-to-Basics" agenda in the new administration.

The Washington Post in March detailed some plans for the EPA that were ordered by the Office of Management and Budget, including laying off 25 percent of its employees and ending 56 programs.

A year ago approximately 1,000 residents in the West Calumet Housing Complex were ordered to relocate, the report said.

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Environmentalists say USS Lead Superfund in East Chicago, Indiana, is the poster child of environmental injustice.

The EPA was created as part of Reorganization Plan No. 3, signed by President Nixon on July 9, 1970, and the only mention of economics in the original was to say that the Council of Environmental Quality enjoyed a place of esteem comparable to that of the Council of Economic Advisers. There are proven, low-priced ways to capture methane instead of letting it pollute our air, and the last administration put in place standards to make sure we do just that.

"We can't drink the water". The land we walk upon is contaminated.

Instead of an executive order rolling back regulations requiring corporations to prevent contaminating the air, water and soil, Trump should issue an executive order protecting the residents of "Main Street" who are dealing with the consequences of lax environmental regulations, Brooks said.

Eleven of the remaining families have found new homes and are in the process of moving, according to HUD.

Graham McCahan, a lawyer for the Environmental Defense Fund, said the tighter standards are already saving thousands of lives every year.