EPA chief delays methane rule at behest of oil and gas firms

Toby Manning
April 21, 2017

They called for reassurance of a thorough cleanup, additional testing and long-term support of residents.

The EPA began conducting soil tests at the site in late 2009 and finally reached a consent decree with the liable companies in 2014.

The EPA's Region 5 covers Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin and, under the plan as reported by the Sun-Times, it would be consolidated with Region 7, covering Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri.

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.

Roughly 1,000 people were ordered evacuated from the housing complex because of lead contamination.

As for Pruitt's meeting with residents at East Chicago's USS Lead Superfund site, Frank said he and four other residents shared their experiences dealing with the city's contaminated soil and water.

Scott Pruitt's visit to East Chicago, Indiana, came a day after the agency denied a report that it was considering closing its Chicago office, which oversees regional environmental protection efforts, including the Flint, Michigan drinking water clean-up and Great Lakes restoration.

Pruitt notes that as part of the process, the EPA will also provide an opportunity for notice and a public comment period on the issues raised in the industry petitions. But other stories have said the agency has been instructed to eliminate two of its regional offices.

EPA spokesman J.P. Freire told CNN in an email: "Forget about the politics".

"Rather than focus on politicized rumors, we are working with residents to make sure they and their families can live in a safe and healthy environment", Freire's statement read.

Meanwhile, residents of the small, majority-minority city are still waiting for a solution.

Residents of the complex and environmental activists protested ahead of his visit. "They are frustrated about that".

"Each visit has really cemented in my mind what many people have long known to be true", Holcomb said.

The EPA is looking at a proposed 31 percent funding cut in the president's budget.

"There's the old saying, 'do more with less, ' but that's not a real physical possibility", said Lagunas, a veteran and University Village resident.

John O'Grady, president of AFGE Council 238, the union that represents EPA employees, said: "This Administration wants to cut at least 3,100 full-time employees, yet the March 21, 2017, budget document indicates cuts as high as 4,000 full-time employees".

Joseph Erbentraut covers promising innovations and challenges in the areas of food, water, agriculture and our climate.

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