Trump's EPA to reconsider oil and gas emissions rule

An oil refinery in California  
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The head of the Environmental Protection Agency toured an IN public-housing complex on Wednesday where roughly 1,000 people were ordered evacuated because of lead contamination, his first visit to a Superfund site that some environmental advocates called a major leadership test.

They wanted Pruitt to know how EPA cuts could affect the health and safety of their community, according to a report.

U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt address a crowd during his visit to East Chicago, Indiana, with state and local officials including Gov. Eric Holcomb and U.S. Sen.

The northwest IN city is now part of a superfund clean-up site after last year's discovery, which forced residents to evacuate and leave their homes.

"Any attempt by this administration to close any US EPA regional office will further cripple environmental protection efforts, while also sending a clear signal to polluters to further contaminate the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, Puget Sound, as well as our rivers, streams and wetlands", said American Federation of Government Employees Local 704 President John O'Grady, whose union represents EPA employees.

Pruitt on Wednesday visited a Superfund site for the first time in his tenure, something elected officials from both parties noted.

Ahead of his visit, environmental advocates said they were hopeful that the administrator's arrival might signal additional support for East Chicago's residents, although they also said they have yet to see any indications of pending action.

Meanwhile, representatives from various community organizations made their way inside Carrie Gosch Elementary School - closed to students last summer amid fears of lead contamination - to take residents' concerns to a delegation of state and federal officials.

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Prior to his appointment by President Donald Trump to serve as the nation's chief environmental regulator, Pruitt was attorney general of Oklahoma and closely aligned with the state's oil and gas industry.

Earlier in the day, Pruitt declined an invitation to attend a roundtable discussion, organized by the NAACP, on the environmental crisis facing residents of the Calumet and West Calumet communities of East Chicago.

Pruitt didn't elaborate on the "concrete steps" officials discussed to restore that confidence.

The White House budget proposal submitted to Congress last month includes a 31 percent cut in spending for the EPA, including a similar reduction of the agency's Hazardous Substance Superfund Account by $330 million to $762 million.

Chanting crowds weaved through streets of East Chicago; some held signs that read "East Chicago Demands Clean Water". The land we walk upon is contaminated.

Forty-four-year-old Demetra Turner says finding a solution is the fight of her life.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has promised a back-to-basics agenda approach for the federal agency.

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