Environment

Environment news

Keesha Daniels just moved from one lead contaminated neighborhood to another.

Both her new house and her old West Calumet Housing Complex apartment sit within East Chicago’s USS Lead Superfund site. The city is tearing down her old home because of extremely high levels of lead in the soil. So she had to move.

Daniels is still unpacking. Most rooms have a pile of boxes stacked tidily in a corner. Two heavy dressers sit in one otherwise empty room — her sons are coming later to move them. As Daniels takes me on a tour of her new house, she offers me some water.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt made his first visit to a Superfund site Wednesday, meeting in East Chicago with lawmakers and residents affected by lead contamination.

Pruitt made a short statement outside a shuttered elementary school in the USS Lead Superfund, after a closed briefing with Gov. Eric Holcomb, state and federal lawmakers, and local officials.

“And the reason I’m here is because it’s important that we restore confidence for the people here in this community, that we’re gonna get it right going forward,” Pruitt says.

Indiana Town Considers Water Utility Sale

Apr 19, 2017

 

Lake Station, Indiana, is treading water.

“We have no money whatsoever in this city,” says Bill Carrol, who manages the Ace Hardware in town.

Lake Station’s operating budget is $2 million overdrawn. Because of the city’s debt, the state is forcing budget cuts. So, Lake Station is considering selling its drinking water utility to a private company, Indiana American Water.

The Environmental Protection Agency and East Chicago’s mayor remain at a standstill over the future of a lead-contaminated public housing complex.

After Mayor Anthony Copeland doubled down on his insistence that the EPA clean West Calumet Housing Complex to a residential standard, the EPA has maintained it can’t move forward with cleanup until it gets more information from the city.

 

A bill overhauling Indiana’s net metering policy is heading to Gov. Eric Holcomb for final approval.

Senate Bill 309 passed the House 56-43 on April 4 after a contentious floor debate where supporters and opponents of the bill both said they have the solar industry’s best interests in mind.

The bill garnered a remarkable amount of public testimony this session, more than 15 hours all together, with Republican and Democratic lawmakers filing dozens of amendments.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this story was published, federal officials have said that West Calumet families with nowhere else to go will now have until Monday, April 3, to appeal their temporary housing assignments before they’re forced to move. This story has been updated to reflect this change, and we’ll keep following the situation as it develops. 

Indiana Black Bear Awakes From Hibernation

Mar 27, 2017

Officials say the black bear last spotted in July appears to be out of hibernation and roaming Indiana again.

Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge officials spotted the bear last week. They say he’s still in the area near Jefferson, Jennings and Ripley counties.

 

A bill that would change net metering for solar energy production got its first hearing before a House committee Wednesday, continuing to draw debate from a wide range of stakeholders.

The House Utilities committee worked through lunch to hear 6 hours of testimony from 60 individuals on Senate Bill 309.

The Environmental Protection Agency will get more money from more sources to clean up some of the most contaminated homes in East Chicago, Indiana.

The agency’s new administrative settlement, announced Monday, adds a new company to those responsible for funding the cleanup.

The new company is the U.S. Metals Refining Company. It joins DuPont and its sister company, Chemours, plus BP subsidiary Atlantic Richfield, as the “Potentially Responsible Parties” funding cleanup in the EPA’s USS Lead Superfund site.

 

Lead contamination has been making headlines lately: in East Chicago, Indiana, or South Bend or Bloomington. Many towns across Indiana are grappling with lead contamination, and dozens have aging, lead-based water infrastructure.

But how does a town know if it has a lead problem?

David Konisky, a professor of public and environmental affairs at Indiana University, says there’s not one single process.

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