EPA to review toxic discharge rule for coal plants

Environmental Protection Agency employees in Chicago are asking Administrator Scott Pruitt to take the time to meet with them on Wednesday after he visits a nearby Superfund site across the border in northwest in where the federal agency is working to address widespread lead contamination.

If Pruitt opts to skip the baseball game, the union that represents the 1,000 employees in the EPA's Region 5 office, the American Federation of Government Employees Local 704, would want to discuss what it describes as "devastating cuts he and the Trump administration have proposed". He met with residents and toured the complex where evacuations began a year ago. Another 3,000 residents living in Zone 2 and 3 of the superfund site were not told to relocate.

Politico has already reported that President Trump's budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, singled out the EPA as a particular target for budget cuts and the EPA was to identify two regional offices for closure by June 15. The land we walk upon is contaminated.

During his visit, Pruitt provided brief comments at a press conference in East Chicago but quickly exited without answering questions from reporters.

The President's budget includes a directive for closing of two of the 10 EPA regional offices, but the official said no decision has been made about which offices. Flint families still can not drink tap water without a filter, and as more communities deal with the effects of aging infrastructure on the health of their water systems, we should be strengthening - not cutting - these vital federal tools.

Not only is the Trump administration eliminating federal funding for lead detection and mitigation programs - it's also asking Congress to slash funding for Superfund cleanup by a whopping 30 percent.

Protesters, including people with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club, snaked through streets of the largely black and Latino community where more than one-third of the residents live in poverty.

Eleven of the remaining families have found new homes and are in the process of moving, according to HUD.

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.

The US EPA says it would reconsider a rule on emissions from oil and gas operations and delay its implementation.

Follow Sophia Tareen on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sophiatareen.

Environmentalists say USS Lead Superfund in East Chicago, Indiana, is the poster child of environmental injustice.

Earlier Wednesday, Pruitt and Holcomb took a driving tour of the contaminated neighborhood.

Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, sent a letter announcing his decision to a coalition of energy companies that lobbied against the 2015 water pollution regulations.