Protesters march before EPA chief Indiana visit

EPA moves to undo tougher pollution limits on coal plants

Pruitt will be in the region on Wednesday to visit a lead contaminated housing complex in East Chicago, Indiana, just 30 minutes south of Chicago. Built on the site of a former lead refinery in 1972, the complex has been part of a federally designated, 322-acre Superfund site since 2009.

"If true, this report is shocking", said U.S. Representative Fred Upton, a Republican from MI.

In a blog post, Meleah Geertsman, a senior attorney in the Natural Resources Defense Council's Midwest program, wrote that "Pruitt has a critical opportunity to make good on his confirmation statement - that EPA should have "acted faster" in Flint - by stepping in to ensure that residents throughout East Chicago have reliable access to drinking water that is not contaminated by lead". The city's mayor reportedly wants the EPA to return the land to residential status, which would allow the city to develop the land into anything it wished.

Upton's statement said the EPA Region 5 office has spearheaded issues such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Flint drinking water response, and Superfund sites in Region 5.

Mikulka said that is not typical of administrators.

CNN reported last week that 350 jobs went unfilled at the EPA under the Trump administration's hiring freeze, and no new positions could be created. "We wanted him to come for lunch and tell our employees the truth of the matter".

Beyond that, the "basics" of the original authorization seem to suggest that the EPA would be establishing, enforcing, providing research for, and enabling others to comply with policies meant to protect the environment - just as many laypeople expect it should.

Emanuel did not respond to multiple requests for comment. "There hasn't been any indication that we'll get additional commitments of additional help coming in for the city".

EPA spokesman J.P Freire called the reports "a hoax".

Pruitt is also the first EPA chief to visit the Superfund site, which is about 25 miles from downtown Chicago. But other stories have said the agency has been instructed to eliminate two of its regional offices.

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency toured an IN public-housing complex on Wednesday where roughly 1,000 people were ordered evacuated because of lead contamination, his first visit to a Superfund site that some environmental advocates called a major leadership test.

Meanwhile, residents of the small, majority-minority city are still waiting for a solution. Pruitt visited "to discuss cleanup and hear directly from East Chicago residents affected by contamination in their community", the agency said in a press release.

"Each visit has really cemented in my mind what many people have long known to be true", Holcomb said. That's before a proposed 31 percent budget cut, he said.

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