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

Howard Feldman, a senior director at the American Petroleum Institute, said his group would work with the Trump administration and Congress on new policies "that recognize our industry as part of the solution to USA economic, environmental and national security goals".

Blunt introduced Pruitt by reflecting on last November's presidential election.

"It's the EPA's objective, and my objective, to make sure the people's health is protected here in East Chicago", Pruitt said.

While the power sector has largely already complied with the rule, several companies and 15 states - including Oklahoma, which was represented by current EPA head Scott Pruitt when he was the state's attorney general - are still seeking to overturn it. Officials say two dozen families remain at the 45-year-old complex, built on a site once occupied by a lead-products factory.

But Pruitt did not address the topic while speaking briefly to the media following the meeting.

Scott Pruitt is touring a housing complex in East Chicago, Indiana where 1,000 people have been ordered to evacuate because of lead and arsenic in the ground.

Last month, the EPA announced it would begin remediation work on almost 200 properties after securing $16 million from the parties responsible for the contamination, which includes high concenrations of lead and arsenic in the soil.

As for any plans to close the Chicago office, Robert Kaplan, the EPA's acting Region 5 administrator, called the reports "not true" and "pure speculation" in an email to employees.

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.

Trump's proposed budget has targeted a number of Obama-era energy and environmental initiatives, broad EPA cuts, and would eliminate the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), alongside other reductions to efficiency and renewable energy programs. The EPA sent officials to the city to test the water of the homes near the Superfund site and found that not only were there high levels of lead in the tested homes, but that the contamination was likely city-wide problem; lead pipes and water that had been improperly treated for decades were the culprits. Pruitt said the EPA will take steps to restore the public's confidence, but he did not offer specifics. IL lawmakers and Chicago EPA workers said they've reached out to the EPA about the possible closure. Some 330 were living there when the mayor called last summer for residents to be relocated.

"We can't drink the water".

Chanting crowds weaved through streets of East Chicago on Wednesday near a Superfund site. The land we walk upon is contaminated.

"We are truly in the fight of our lives", she said.

Administrator Scott Pruitt will join IN leaders including Gov. Eric Holcomb IN East Chicago.

  • Zachary Reyes