Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Science | By Hubert Green

EPA to reconsider methane rule for new oil, gas facilities

EPA to reconsider methane rule for new oil, gas facilities

Noting his first tour of a superfund site since being appointed the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt promised new action for residents in the in city grappling with a lead contamination crisis.

The visit, while praised by elected officials of both parties, drew protests.

The EPA is waiting on East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland to provide a redevelopment plan for the soon-to-be-demolished site.

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.

It was the latest in a slew of actions by Pruitt to set aside environmental regulations opposed by corporate interests.

Local residents and activists questioned Pruitt's motives. 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. "We certainly call upon the president to take these reforms and weave them together in the context and on the back of an executive order for environmental justice", Brooks said.

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday would not address rumors about whether Chicago's regional office would be closed - even as the head of that office issued a memo calling the reports "pure speculation".

In February, Holcomb declared East Chicago a disaster area due to risky environmental issues emerging from the USS Lead Superfund site.

NAACP President Cornell Brooks, members of his organization's IN chapter and East Chicago community leaders wrote a list of demands to present at that meeting. Tara Adams, who is one of the last remaining residents of the West Calumet complex, says residents haven't received the attention they deserve.

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.

Scott Pruitt is touring a housing complex in East Chicago, Indiana where 1,000 people have been ordered to evacuate because of lead and arsenic in the ground.

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. The letter objects to Trump's rollback of climate policies and proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), speaks to employees of the agency in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2017.

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