Upton would strongly oppose closing EPA office that serves MI

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 20, 2017

Pruitt toured the West Calumet Housing Complex, a public housing complex, alongside Gov. Eric Holcomb who approved a disaster declaration for the city just weeks after taking office. The Chicago Sun Times says EPA's Region 5 office is on the chopping block; it serves Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and 35 Native American tribes.

A second regional closure is reportedly planned, but so far the identity of that office remains under wraps. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford) Eddis Marie Loving, of East Chicago, Ind., holds a sign as supporters and residents of East Chicago, Ind., rally near a public-housing complex Wednesday, April 19, 2017, ahead of a visit by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.

The pair joined other state and federal officials, including Senators Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Todd Young (R-Ind)., meeting with East Chicago officials and community leaders. "They can have the confidence that their land, their health is going to be secure in the long-term".

On Wednesday, Pruitt refuted the report during a 45-minute meeting with East Chicago residents, Frank said. But it is not the EPA's job, as correctly noted by Pruitt, to create unrealistic rules aimed at harming the economy and killing jobs.

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The Natural Resources Defense Council told CNN that Pruitt has yet to respond to its request for more EPA assistance and oversight in the lead problem in East Chicago's drinking water. They cried foul over his decision to skip meeting with them at the Chicago regional office.

However, EPA officials are now pushing back on the rumor, telling reporters "at this time, our discussions have not veered into the subject of an office closure".

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.

"If true, this report is shocking and I would strongly oppose the closing of the Region 5 office", Upton said in a Monday statement.

The statement is based on unconfirmed reports that President Trump is planning on closing the Chicago-based EPA Region 5 office and consolidating it with Region 7 in Kansas.

Mikulka said that is not typical of administrators.

"I think that if the head of the EPA is traveling anywhere in the region as a matter of courtesy, we've always seen that the administrator would come to the local office and meet with the staff", he said.

"He categorically denied that they had any plans to do that", said Thomas Frank, one of five East Chicago residents who met with Pruitt on Wednesday.

"Seeing the face of the affected persons makes a difference".

Pruitt toured the complex with IN officials, including Gov. Eric Holcomb and Sen.

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.

The housing complex was built over land that had been used by lead and copper smelting companies for almost a century before being shut down in the early 50s.

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