Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Research | By Jo Caldwell

Protesters march before EPA boss visits IN lead cleanup site

Protesters march before EPA boss visits IN lead cleanup site

To call Wednesday's visit by Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, in East Chicago, Indiana, highly anticipated would be putting it mildly. Eric Holcomb, a Republican, and Mayor Anthony Copeland, a Democrat, accompanied Pruitt, who toured the site and heard from residents.

Mike Mikulka, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 704, which represents local EPA workers, said the regional office extended an invitation to Pruitt, but was told he was unavailable to meet during his visit.

Demonstrators rallied in the lead-contaminated community to protest Pruitt's visit. However, he didn't offer any details in his 90-second statement.

Pruitt's decision came less than a month after he waived an earlier EPA edict that asked 15,000 oil and gas producers to track and report their methane emissions.

Residents of the housing complex in IN were joined by environmental activists as they protested nearby before Pruitt arrived.

"Given our resource situation, we will continue a freeze on external hiring", Flynn noted, despite the fact that the presidential memorandum blocking any hiring of federal employees has been lifted.

Chanting crowds weaved through streets of East Chicago on Wednesday near a Superfund site.

Brooks, surrounded by members of the NAACP, the Twin City Ministerial Alliance, the East Chicago/Calumet Coalition Community Advisory Group and the Community Strategy Group, laid out a list of demands.

The EPA's move to delay the methane rule is one of a string of "reconsiderations", or delays on Obama-era regulations recently enacted by the Trump administration.

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.

Resident Demetra Turner, 44, who left Chicago a decade ago for public housing in IN, said she was trying to find safe housing for the two children who live with her. She says she's concerned for the two children who live with her at the complex.

The site includes part of the former USS Lead facility along with nearby commercial, municipal and residential areas, including the West Calumet public housing complex. We call upon the EPA administrator.

Some environmental advocates are calling Wednesday's visit a first major test of Pruitt's leadership. Also, Trump has proposed cutting the EPA's budget by 31 percent, nearly one-third, and eliminating more than 3,200 jobs, about 20 percent of the agency's workforce of 15,000.

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