The federal EPA administrator traveled to East Chicago Wednesday, months after the agency discovered dangerously high levels of lead and arsenic in the city's soil.
Residents of the complex and environmental activists protested ahead of his visit.
The community is what's a called a legacy contamination site.
U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt address a crowd during his visit to East Chicago, Indiana, with state and local officials including Gov. Eric Holcomb and U.S. Sen.
Trump's budget plan would slash the Environmental Protection Agency's budget by almost a third, including reductions for the agency's enforcement and compliance office and ending the $300 million-a-year Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, among other regional efforts. The program is meant to support poor, often minority communities with severe environmental challenges. But he also wishes leaders like Holcomb and Pruitt will spend more time speaking with residents directly.
Bolling-Williams, who was invited to Pruitt's meeting, said: "Pruitt listened to all of our concerns but he did not offer any solutions".
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Williams and other city officials were in Denver, Colorado to present the city's revitalization plans to a panel of judges. During Williams' presentation Wednesday, he said each project will need to benefit all of Huntington, not just one area.
But an EPA official told CNN the initial report saying the agency is considering shutting down the Chicago office is false. Some held signs that read "East Chicago Demands Clean Water". We need to talk. Lead in water and lead in soil are not related, and EPA has said that if up to 90 percent of the city's water lines are lead, all residents should use a certified filter. O'Grady said buyouts and early retirements won't achieve that goal, because the math makes it unrealistic.
EPA spokesman J.P. Freire told CNN in an email: "Forget about the politics". The NAACP also called on Pruitt to keep the EPA's Office of Environmental Justice open. "And we air we breathe is contaminated", said Thomas Frank, a resident of the community of roughly 30,000 who lives near the Superfund site. This year, IN will distribute filters to all residents IN Zones 2 and 3.
The EPA will now review and reconsider revisions on effluent limitations made under the Clean Water Act under the Obama administration in 2015, Pruitt said.
During his visit, Pruitt provided brief comments at a press conference in East Chicago but quickly exited without answering questions from reporters.
According to the EPA release, which contained multiple statements from coal companies that will be benefiting from the new easements on environmental regulations, the "new direction" for the agency (a contradiction that employees and the public alike find confusing) will be focused on transferring responsibility for environmental to state and local partners.
Clean-up would continue in East Chicago, lawmakers said.