The EPA will now review and reconsider revisions on effluent limitations made under the Clean Water Act under the Obama administration in 2015, Pruitt said. But he also wishes leaders like Holcomb and Pruitt will spend more time speaking with residents directly. Administrator Pruitt has been the main proponent of the Trump administration's proposed 31 percent across the board EPA cuts, including plans to completely eliminate funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and to slash funding for many other critical environmental protection programs in Region 5.
An EPA employees union criticized Pruitt for the proposed cuts, saying they would threaten public health.
Chanting crowds weaved through streets of East Chicago on Wednesday near a Superfund site. "We mean making the people whole".
Environmentalists say USS Lead Superfund in East Chicago, Indiana, is the poster child of environmental injustice.
Still, officials called his visit to East Chicago significant. "There hasn't been any indication that we'll get additional commitments of additional help coming in for the city".
EPA officials did not respond to questions concerning the petition.
"When we look at West Calumet and East Chicago we're looking at a toxic secret that's been kept for a long time", East Chicago resident Thomas Frank said. Pruitt will be the first EPA administrator to visit the site in East Chicago, according to his office.
"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", Freire's statement read.
Pruitt might see firsthand the problems with this vision on Wednesday when he visits East Chicago, Indiana, a mostly black and Latino city of 29,000 that is home to a Superfund site and a host of other environmental problems.
Meanwhile, residents of the small, majority-minority city are still waiting for a solution. 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.
"Rolling back these rules benefits the worst actors in the business, at the expense of both responsible companies and ordinary everyday Americans", said Mark Brownstein, a spokesman for the Environmental Defense Fund. "Plugging the leaks is straightforward and cost effective".
Meanwhile, the Trump administration's mission is to curtail EPA's workforce by 25 percent and cut its budget down to $5.7 billion.
Several states sued over the standards, including Pruitt during his tenure as Oklahoma attorney general.
Joseph Erbentraut covers promising innovations and challenges in the areas of food, water, agriculture and our climate.
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