EPA seeks to derail cleanup of coal power plant pollution

Unfortunately, the Pruitt-Trump budget would also cut the EPA's enforcement office by 31 percent, letting many corporate polluters off the hook.

She said her organization wants to see the EPA do more to protect the East Chicago community. The identity of the other regional office targeted for closure has not been released or leaked.

An EPA employees union criticized Pruitt for the proposed cuts, saying they would threaten public health. But Robert Kaplan, the acting regional director in Chicago, wrote in an email to employees there that stories about the regional office being closed were "not true" and "pure speculation". "Anyone stating anything to the contrary is spreading false information", he said. The EPA provided a copy of the email from Kaplan, who is not a Trump political appointee, to ThinkProgress. Pruitt is the first EPA administrator to visit the site, according to EPA officials.

"EPA is focusing on getting results by improving environmental conditions and human health in places like East Chicago", EPA spokesman JP Freire said in an emailed statement.

"Paris is something that we need to really look at closely", he said.

The USS Lead facility operated in East Chicago from 1900 through 1985.

EPA coordinator Brad Benning stands in front of an EPA office in East Chicago.

Pruitt did meet with residents and state leaders later in the day.

The hypocrisy of it all hasn't been lost on community activists who fought for years to try to protect East Chicago children living atop a toxic Superfund site from lead poisoning. The memo also said the agency plans to continue to maintain a hiring freeze, with "very limited exceptions", even as the government-wide freeze expires.

"And by whole, we don't merely mean making the land whole, we don't merely mean making the buildings whole", Brooks says.

"In fact, it was my bipartisan legislation that would help make important reforms". (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.

"As it stands, what matters is not the photo ops or the visits". He tells WSJM News the EPA is expected to get major cuts in the next federal budget, but he doesn't think shuttering the office that serves the Great Lakes is a smart move. He refused to answer reporters' questions. Also, Trump has proposed cutting the EPA's budget by 31 percent, nearly one-third, and eliminating more than 3,200 jobs, about 20 percent of the agency's workforce of 15,000. It's in their drinking water and it's in their soil.

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