Despite thousands of protesters and a temporary stay, the pipeline began transporting oil at the end of last month.
Noting his first tour of a superfund site since being appointed the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt promised new action for residents in the in city grappling with a lead contamination crisis.
"This action is another example of EPA implementing President Trump's vision of being good stewards of our natural resources, while not developing regulations that hurt our economy and kill jobs", Pruitt said. Pruitt visited "to discuss cleanup and hear directly from East Chicago residents affected by contamination in their community", the agency said in a press release.
Pruitt toured the West Calumet Housing Complex, a public housing complex, alongside Gov. Eric Holcomb who approved a disaster declaration for the city just weeks after taking office.More news: The race to be Iran's next president kicks off
Brooks also cited concerns about rumors the administration also might be considering eliminating two of EPA's regional offices, including the Region 5 office that now is overseeing cleanup efforts in East Chicago.
The Environmental Protection Agency's Chicago office has rejected speculation it will be closing as part of proposed budget cuts by President Donald Trump's administration. The program is meant to support poor, often minority communities with severe environmental challenges. A source tells CBS Pruitt denied any potential closure when he met with locals Wednesday.
"It's the EPA's objective, and my objective, to make sure the people's health is protected here in East Chicago", Pruitt said.
The White House proposed significant cuts to the EPA, and many officials think it could come at the expense of a couple of regional offices. Some held signs that read "East Chicago Demands Clean Water".More news: Rex Tillerson: U.S. Is Conducting 'Comprehensive Review' Of Iran Nuclear Deal
"We need them to commit to adjusting cleanup plan for the site". Instead of digging up two feet of contaminated soil for disposal, digging up eight feet.
Brooks says they want the EPA to be more responsive, expand soil and blood lead testing testing efforts, and establish a victims compensation fund to make residents "whole".
"They made pleas for assistance, for help", he said.
EPA spokesman J.P. Freire told CNN in an email: "Forget about the politics". 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. This year, IN will distribute filters to all residents IN Zones 2 and 3.More news: Trump to meet Italian premier ahead of G-7 meeting in Italy
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