Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has called for the United States to withdraw from the Paris agreement, because of course he has.
Hoping to catch Pruitt's attention, dozens of community members gathered for an "emergency rally" on Wednesday morning, many of them carrying signs declaring "East Chicago demands clean water". "We stand in the face of anybody who does not support these residents", he said. Pruitt and his contemporaries have recently doubled-down on their anti-scientific claptrap. More than one thousand people were forced to evacuate, according to Debbie Chizewer at Northwestern Law School, who has worked very closely with the affected residents.
Environmentalists say USS Lead Superfund in East Chicago, Indiana, is the poster child of environmental injustice. In recent weeks, Pruitt has moved to scrap or delay numerous EPA regulations enacted during the Obama administration to curb air and water pollution from fossil fuel operations.
MI lawmakers railed today against an unconfirmed report that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could be considering closing its Region 5 office in Chicago.
"What we talked about today is setting forth concrete steps, progress that we can measure in the near term to restore that confidence", Pruitt said. East Chicago Utilities Director Greg Crowley told the Times of Northwest Indiana that it would have been "helpful if [the EPA] had been more hands-on" in helping the city make the switch to different chemicals.
In the West Calumet Housing Complex, where 1,000 residents were ordered to leave last summer because of high lead levels in the soil, a group of residents and activists gathered. Housing officials said their goal is to move out all families by May.
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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.
While Pruitt's visit was welcomed by officials in this small, industrial and Democratic-dominated city, he drew criticism from the union representing EPA workers.
"We can't drink the water".
Maritza Lopez, a Superfund resident, held up a multipage list of medications she takes daily to show those gathered at the NAACP news conference the effects of contamination in the neighborhood she has long called home.
The leader of the Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to tour an IN public-housing complex where roughly 1,000 people were ordered evacuated because of lead contamination.