EPA seeks to derail cleanup of coal power plant pollution

Paterniano Del Favero
Aprile 20, 2017

"Any attempt by this administration to close any US EPA regional office will further cripple environmental protection efforts, while also sending a clear signal to polluters to further contaminate the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, Puget Sound, as well as our rivers, streams and wetlands", said American Federation of Government Employees Local 704 President John O'Grady, whose union represents EPA employees.

Pruitt is also the first EPA chief to visit the Superfund site, which is about 25 miles from downtown Chicago.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was due to join IN leaders including Gov. Eric Holcomb and U.S. Sens. Trump administration's proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 would cut EPA funding 31 percent, the biggest planned cut for any federal agency.

Residents and the Natural Resources Defense Council are calling for more support and testing. Pruitt, who as Oklahoma's attorney general was tightly aligned with oil and gas companies, was among those who filed suit. Some 330 were living there when the mayor called last summer for residents to be relocated.

"There's no way it could ever make that showing when it comes to power plants", Pew said. "You really could have heard a pin drop in that room". The EPA has set up shop at a now-empty school.

Geertsman explained East Chicago and the state of IN have a poor history with treating the city's drinking water for lead. Officials began evacuating the 45-year-old complex, built on a site previously occupied by a lead-products factory, after soil tests found some yards with lead levels over 70 times the USA safety standard. Lead exposure, even at low levels, can cause nervous system damage and lowered IQs.

Trump issued another executive order in early March asking the EPA to repeal and replace the Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the USA rule. The land we walk upon is contaminated.

Protesters snaked through streets of the largely black and Latino community where more than one-third of the residents live in poverty.

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

Eleven of the remaining families have found new homes and are in the process of moving, according to HUD. Housing officials said their goal is to move out all families by May.

Forty-four-year-old Demetra Turner says finding a solution is the fight of her life.

"African Americans serve as the canaries in the mine, yet today we are seeing that those mines exist in our communities where toxic poisons are ignored, only because they have yet to reach the rest of America", NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks said in a statement issued Tuesday.

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