Environmental Activists March at EPA Chief's Indiana Superfund Site Visit

The meeting between Pruitt and residents was "intense", with people providing emotional first-person accounts, according to Robert Kaplan, acting regional administrator for EPA's Region 5 office in Chicago. "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".

And by the way, those new energy sources fit much better with the mandate of the Environmental Protection Agency that Mr. Pruitt is charged with leading.

He toured a housing complex built on the Superfund site where around 1,000 residents had to leave their homes earlier this year due to lead contamination. One was arrested after attempting to bring 3 grams and a pipe through a security checkpoint at an Internal Revenue Service facility, and another was said to have marijuana growing in her residence.

They wanted Pruitt to know how EPA cuts could affect the health and safety of their community, according to a report. "We're committed to doing that, doing it in an efficient and effective way so we can get back and see progress in this community".

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On Friday, Politico reported that federal budget cuts will likely hit the EPA hard, and the budget instructs the EPA to identify two regional offices for closure by June 15. Lead exposure, even at low levels, can cause nervous system damage and lowered IQs.

Beyond that, the "basics" of the original authorization seem to suggest that the EPA would be establishing, enforcing, providing research for, and enabling others to comply with policies meant to protect the environment - just as many laypeople expect it should.

"It will do it pretty successfully", Loeb said. "The work we do here is too important to cut", said Michael Mikulka, Chicago chapter president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the union for federal employees.

Rep. Peter Visclosky, D-Merrillville, and Sen.

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Visclosky said Congress' goal is to ensure agencies have appropriate funds to meet needs.

"I'm really trying to figure out what's going on out here", a resident said.

Clean-up would continue in East Chicago, lawmakers said.

The petition asked the EPA to provide residents with free faucet filters or bottled water; test the city's drinking water; expand blood lead level testing for children; and review corrosion control measures.

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This office is responsible for holding the companies accountable for their share of the cleanup, such as a 2014 action that forced Atlantic Richfield and DuPont to spend an estimated $21 million at the East Chicago Superfund site. The EPA is discussing ways to eliminate office space to save money, Kaplan said.

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