EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency visited East Chicago, Indiana, Saturday, to update residents on contamination cleanup.

EPA Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp and U.S. EPA senior advisor Albert Kelly attended the briefing and listened to public comment.

Residents heard updates from the on-site remediation coordinators and participated in, sometimes heated, Q&A sessions. Those comments were heard loud and clear, says Kelly.

Rep. Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis) calls on Indiana delegates to oppose budget cuts to the EPA. (Jill Sheridan/IPB News)
Lauren Chapman

  

Community leaders gathered at the Statehouse Tuesday to speak out against proposed federal cuts to environmental protection programs. They focused on concerns for public health. President Donald Trump's proposed budget would cut Environmental Protection Agency funding by about 23 percent. 

Community leaders called on Indiana's Congressional representatives to oppose the cuts ahead of the approval deadline.

NASA

In 2017, President Trump proposed cutting $300 million for Great Lakes projects. That money stayed in the federal budget, but as a new year begins, environmental advocates have lots of concerns – including cuts to the EPA. 

Groups throughout the region plan to take the fate of the Great Lakes into their own hands in 2018.

This means working with communities on climate change and collaborating to clean up polluted waters.

The cleanup for part of an East Chicago, Indiana toxic waste site will cost nearly four times more than originally expected. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the site’s cleanup, will open an opportunity for public comments Monday, Dec. 18.

The EPA initially estimated cleanup for the residential area of the USS Lead Superfund site would cost $23 million. But, a new agency report says the estimate should be closer to $85 million.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will accelerate cleanup of 21 toxic waste sites across the country, including a lead- and arsenic-contaminated site in East Chicago, Indiana.

The EPA wants to expedite soil cleanup and finalize a plan for what to do with a now-abandoned public housing complex after it’s demolished at the USS Lead site in the northwest Indiana city.

Attorney David Chizewer says it’s not immediately clear if that’s helpful.

Farmers Seek Delay For Hazardous Air Emission Rule

Nov 14, 2017

Chicken and hog farmers want a federal court to delay a rule that would require they report certain hazardous air emissions from manure pits, but Hoosier farmers aren’t sure how they’d comply with the rule if it goes into effect.

A federal court ruled last April farms were not exempt from a 2008 Environmental Protection Agency rule regulating hazardous air emissions. The ruling takes effect Nov. 15, but Indiana Pork Producers executive director Josh Trenary says the EPA and ag industry groups want a delay.

Indiana has begun planning how to use its $40.9 million portion of the Volkswagen pollution settlement.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management, or IDEM, wants public input on a plan to pay to upgrade diesel equipment in places with severe emissions.

VW admitted last year to tampering with emissions equipment in 600,000 of its cars sold in the U.S. The company’s $2.7 billion Clean Air Act settlement includes money for states to offset pollution from the altered cars.

EPA Moves To Repeal Clean Power Plan

Oct 9, 2017

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt announced Monday the Trump administration will repeal the Clean Power Plan.

The Clean Power Plan would reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 30 percent nationwide in an effort to slow man-made climate change.

Indiana and 27 other states previously sued the EPA over the Obama-era rule.

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the rule from going into effect in 2016, a move that met the approval of industry groups such as the Indiana Coal Council.

Farmers in Indiana and across the nation are using more of a powerful, but controversial, weed killer this year — dicamba.

Dicamba has been used since at least the 1960s, mostly on corn. Last year, though, the Environmental Protection Agency approved a new type of dicamba to use on cotton and soybean plants genetically engineered to resist the weed killer.

Don Lamb, who operates an 8,800 acre farm in Lebanon, says the new dicamba has created a problem.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson says officials will work to help displaced families from a lead-contaminated public housing complex in East Chicago.

Carson met privately Monday with some residents and local lawmakers near the now-empty West Calumet Housing Complex. Gov. Eric Holcomb, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, U.S. Sens. Joe Donnelly and Todd Young, and East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland joined the discussion.

Indiana stands to lose out if Congress approves proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, says environmentalists, scientists, EPA staffers, and Indiana residents.

The cuts could affect drinking water infrastructure, burden the state’s environmental regulatory agency, and hinder efforts to clean up industrial toxic waste sites.

Federal housing officials will hold a public hearing Monday night on plans to tear down a lead-contaminated public housing complex in East Chicago. The demolition plan got federal environmental approval last month, but residents want a chance to raise concerns.

Residents from the West Calumet Housing Complex area wrote to the Department of Housing and Urban Development this month. They asked for a public hearing and more time to comment on the demolition plan.

Governor Signs Bill Expanding Lead Testing In East Chicago

Apr 20, 2017

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed legislation Thursday designating parts of East Chicago, Indiana, as “areas of special concern.”

The bill indefinitely extends parts of Holcomb’s emergency declaration to expand lead testing in the city’s soil and water.

U.S. Steel Chemical Spill Threatens Lake Michigan

Apr 12, 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency is responding to a chemical spill, which threatens beaches and the nearest public water intake, from the U.S. Steel facility in Portage.

US Steel reported Tuesday the wastewater spill into Burns Waterway, about 100 yards away from Lake Michigan. In a statement released late Wednesday, U.S. Steel says the spill resulted from an equipment failure and it has idled all production processes at the facility.

Dozens of families are still living in East Chicago’s lead-contaminated West Calumet Housing Complex, a week after the city had wanted everyone moved out.

In late March, the East Chicago Housing Authority assigned remaining West Calumet residents to temporary public housing units elsewhere in the city, as well as in Gary and Chicago.

Environmental Protection Agency representatives fielded questions over the weekend about clean-up of a lead-contaminated Superfund site in East Chicago, Indiana.

Most of the questions centered around identifying contractors, the timeline of work, and details of what remediation entails. On March 21, the EPA announced a new settlement to pay for clean-up efforts in Zones 2 and 3 of the Superfund.

Wednesday, March 1, is the deadline for residents of a lead-contaminated East Chicago, Indiana, housing complex to renew their federal housing vouchers.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, gave out the Section 8 vouchers late last year to help residents find new homes.

As of this month, HUD says 106 families still live in West Calumet Housing Complex, and 91 of those have not yet found a new place to live – including Keesha Daniels and her sons.

 

A lead-contaminated public housing complex in East Chicago, Indiana could soon become a lead-contaminated vacant lot – and if local and federal officials can’t resolve a key dispute, it might stay that way for a long time.

That’s because the city and Environmental Protection Agency are at odds over redevelopment plans for the neighborhood.

The work to clean up the homes around the West Calumet Housing Complex continues in East Chicago. The EPA says there are things you can do protect your families from the high lead  levels. Steven Lattimore has the story