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.
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. The NAACP also called on Pruitt to keep the EPA's Office of Environmental Justice open.
They are anxious Pruitt won't do enough to eradicate the problem because he and President Trump want to roll back environmental regulations. After offering remarks about his visit, Pruitt was asked whether the EPA planned to close its Chicago office, but he walked away without answering.
Last month's revelation that the White House wants to slash the EPA budget by nearly a third sent a shock through the industry, and now details are leaking out about how those cuts might be accomplished. Officials began evacuating the 45-year-old complex, built on a site previously occupied by a lead-products factory, after soil tests found some yards with lead levels over 70 times the USA safety standard. Some 330 were living there when the mayor called last summer for residents to be relocated. In recent weeks, Pruitt has moved to scrap or delay numerous EPA regulations enacted during the Obama administration to curb air and water pollution from fossil fuel operations.
After meeting with local, state and federal officials - and some residents affected by the contamination - Pruitt made a brief statement and took no questions from reporters.
"There was no back and forth", Frank said.
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Protesters snaked through streets of the largely black and Latino community where more than one-third of the residents live in poverty.
The pair joined other state and federal officials, including Senators Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Todd Young (R-Ind)., meeting with East Chicago officials and community leaders.
Eleven of the remaining families have found new homes and are in the process of moving, according to HUD.
Demonstrators rallied in the lead-contaminated community to protest Pruitt's visit.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has told oil and gas industry leaders that the agency will reconsider its methane emissions rule following a petition from industry leaders, a move decried by environmentalists.
CNN reported last week that 350 jobs went unfilled at the EPA under the Trump administration's hiring freeze, and no new positions could be created.
"We are truly in the fight of our lives", she said.