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.
Before leaving office, former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence denied an emergency declaration request from the city of East Chicago, Indiana. But East Chicago State Rep. Earl Harris, Jr. is hopeful new Gov. Eric Holcomb will still consider one.
The Calumet neighborhood of East Chicago has lead and arsenic contamination in its soil at 200 times the legal limit.
Harris says the request isn’t something the city asked for lightly.
“I didn’t know if there was a lack of understanding or what the situation was but really we need, needed, and still need more help,” Harris says.
Residents of a lead contaminated neighborhood in East Chicago, Indiana want a larger role in the clean up process and they’re taking an unusual step to get it.
Seven residents of the lead and arsenic–polluted neighborhood want to join the Environmental Protection Agency’s lawsuit against the companies paying for the cleanup. The residents argue neither party represents their interests, and they want more say. An attorney representing the residents, David Chizewer, says its an uncommon tactic but an important step.