Homepage News Archive

State Finally Makes Progress on East Chicago, IN

Residents living in more than 1,000 private properties in the middle and eastern parts of the Calumet neighborhood will not be moving as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency excavates contaminated soil from around their homes. While of the 332 families living at the complex when the city issued a relocation order, 106 remained. They are facing a March 31 deadline to move.
State officials have completed some of the tasks required as part of an emergency declaration for East Chicago’s USS Lead Superfund site in the more than two weeks since it was signed into effect by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. Water is being tested and excavation of contaminated soil has oved forward. Read more.


PA Confirms States First Fracking Earthquake

Pennsylvania officials say they’ve confirmed the state’s first fracking-related earthquakes took place last year in Lawrence County, northwest of Pittsburgh. As a result, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is stepping up its requirements for drilling in that part of the state, which is known for seismic activity. Read more.

Backyard Talk

An Open Letter to New EPA Chief Scott Pruitt: You’re Not in Oklahoma Anymore

02/17/2017 06:02 pm ET
Ken Cook Environmental Working Group
 Dear Mr. Pruitt:
On Friday, in a near-partisan vote, the Senate confirmed you as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s sad to say, but this is the darkest moment in the history of an agency that for 46 years has worked to ensure that Americans drink clean water, breathe healthy air and are protected from dangerous toxic chemicals.
As Oklahoma attorney general, you filed or supported more than two dozen lawsuits against the very agency you now must lead. Most notoriously, you sought to block the EPA’s efforts to combat climate change. But you also opposed initiatives to protect children from mercury poisoning, and reduce air pollution that causes asthma and thousands of premature deaths, among other measures to protect public health. In your home state, you did little or nothing to curb water pollution from toxic manure discharged by big chicken and pig farms.
In your confirmation hearing you could not name a single EPA regulation you thought was a good idea – not even removing lead from gasoline.
The day before your confirmation, an Oklahoma judge ordered the release of 3,000 emails between your office and the fossil fuel industry next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided Americans did not have the right to know what was in those emails before the confirmation vote. For now, we can only speculate about their contents, but your record shows you have collaborated with polluters with the same coziness Gen. Michael Flynn displayed as he communicated with Russia’s ambassador about election tampering.
There has never been a nominee for EPA administrator opposed so strongly by environmental and public health advocates, scientists, and hundreds of current and former EPA officials. We are determined to fight back against what we expect will be an unprecedented assault on public health and the environment. But we also have a word for you:
You’re not in Oklahoma anymore.
It is shameful that someone with your anti-environment record and philosophy has been handed the most important environmental job in the world. But you will not get a free pass to trash America’s air and water as you did in Oklahoma, when you claimed that the interests of polluters were synonymous with the interests of the people of your state.
You will not get a free pass to ignore science or muzzle scientists. You will not slash the EPA budget as you slashed environmental enforcement in Oklahoma – not without a fight.
You will not degrade or subvert the rule of environmental law that represents one of America’s distinctive contributions to the welfare of our planet just to please your polluter cronies, their friends in Congress or their cheerleader in the White House.
Why? Because the American people will rise up and fight you every step of the way.
Our nation’s leadership in environmental protection is a prime example of what has made America great again and again and again – for decades. We have no intention of standing by while you dismantle that hard-won legacy at the behest of fossil fuels or elected fools.
We aren’t going anywhere, Mr. Pruitt. And you are not in Oklahoma anymore.


Victory for Families Relocating In East Chicago, IN

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order declaring a disaster emergency for East Chicago’s USS Lead Superfund site.
The declaration provides for 30 days of enhanced state assistance for the estimated 100 residents who have yet to relocate from the lead contaminated West Calumet Housing Complex, as well as other lead-impacted citizens in the affected area.
Governor Holcomb did what Pence refused to do last year. Residents and community groups heavily criticized Pence last year for not meeting personally with those affected by the lead and arsenic contamination. Read more.


Major Climate March in DC – April 29th

People’s Climate March” in D.C., AND across the country on April 29.  JOIN CHEJ and Allies.
The effort is being organized by the coalition formed out of 2014’s People’s Climate March, which brought more than 400,000 people to the streets of New York City and many more to cities around the world.
The march comes in response to widespread outrage against President Trump’s disastrous anti-climate agenda including his executive orders advancing the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines as well as his attacks on healthcare, immigrants, and programs and policies that improve the lives of all Americans. The event will cap 100 days of action to fight Trump’s proposals to reverse climate action, dismantle our government and hand power over to the one percent.
More than 145 protests in local communities took place across the country in the first 100 hours of the Trump presidency, demonstrating widespread opposition to the administration’s anti-environment and corporate agenda as part of an ongoing campaign organized by the People’s Climate Movement.

Backyard Talk News Archive

Fracking Linked to 9,442 Official Complaints in Rural Pennsylvania

Between 2013–2016, Public Herald conducted 50 file reviews at DEP‘s offices and tracked down 6,819 complaint cases files. On December 30, 2016, DEP gave Public Herald an updated spreadsheet showing that 9,442 complaints have been filed between 2004–2016 and thousands of these center around water contamination complaints. Steve Horn reported in DESMOG. Read more.