Government

Potential Closing of EPA Office Concerns Ryan

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan calls reported plans by the Trump administration to close the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chicago office “deeply concerning.”

As reported by the Chicago Sun Times, the administration plans to close the Chicago EPA office and consolidate it with Region 7 in Kansas. The Chicago office has responsibility for local and state matters in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and oversees the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

President Trump has proposed a 31% cut to EPA’s funding, which also would have to be approved by Congress.

A spokesman for the EPA has denied any office closing is imminent.

“President Trump’s request to zero out funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in his first budget proposal was bad enough. Now he’s adding insult to injury by potentially eliminating the very office tasked with managing the program,” Ryan, D-13 Ohio, said, in a statement.

Ryan wrote legislation to require EPA to appoint a coordinator to address the issue of harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes. The legislation passed the House of Representatives in April 2016.

Lake Erie supports more than 117,000 full-time jobs and provides clean drinking water to some 3 million Ohioans, according to the congressman’s office.

“The Great Lakes are a vital resource and strategic advantage and it’s critical that we do everything in our power to safeguard their health and well-being,” the congressman said.

“I hope these reports are false, but if they are true, I will do everything in my power to stop this attack on the Midwest and the Great Lakes region,” he added.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.