EPA seeks to scuttle cleanup of coal plant pollution


Scott Pruitt, the deeply controversial head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is off to East Chicago today - a trip that coincides with his plan to strip away many of EPA's pollution limits and to dramatically cut his agency's budget.

The leader of the Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to tour an IN public-housing complex where roughly 1,000 people were ordered evacuated because of lead contamination. They called for more thorough cleanup, additional testing and long-term support of residents.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt stated, "This action is another example of EPA implementing President Trump's vision of being good stewards of our natural resources, while not developing regulations that hurt our economy and kill jobs".

On April 15, anonymous sources disclosed that the Trump administration planned to close down the EPA regional branch office located in Chicago, Illinois. They chanted and held signs reading, "East Chicago Demands Clean Water". "At a time when US Steel is carelessly spilling risky chemicals into Lake Michigan, we can not turn our back on the Great Lakes and allow the Trump administration to muffle the EPA", Emanuel said.

Residents of the complex and environmental activists protested ahead of his visit.

Demetra Turner, 44, a resident of the West Calumet Housing Complex who has yet to leave, urged others to keep pressure on the EPA.

Meanwhile, representatives from various community organizations made their way inside Carrie Gosch Elementary School - closed to students last summer amid fears of lead contamination - to take residents' concerns to a delegation of state and federal officials.

While the fate of Region 5's office remains unknown, President Donald Trump's budget released in March does call for a 31 percent spending reduction to the EPA, slashing its budget by $2.6 billion.

Eleven of the remaining families have found new homes and are in the process of moving, according to HUD. "The stakes are too high for him to avoid hearing from the front line engineers, scientists and other workers who make sure our drinking water and the air we breathe are safe for all Americans".

Environmentalists say USS Lead Superfund in East Chicago, Indiana, is the poster child of environmental injustice. The land we walk upon is contaminated.

"And the reason I'm here is because it's important that we restore confidence for the people here in this community that we're gonna get it right going forward", Pruitt says.

"Administrator Pruitt is focused on getting EPA back to the basics of protecting human health and the environment, and the Superfund program is a critical component of this", his office said in a statement.