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EPA Denies Plans to Close Chicago Office
USAgNet - 04/20/2017

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials on Tuesday denied reports the agency will close the office in Chicago that oversees regional environmental protection efforts including the Flint, Michigan drinking water clean-up and Great Lakes restoration.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers representing the Midwestern states around the Great Lakes raised concerns over the past two days after a report by the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper that the EPA was considering closing its Region 5 office.

"These stories are not true, are pure speculation, and undermine our ability to communicate with the public the real information we have," Bob Kaplan, acting regional administrator, wrote in a memo sent to staff on Monday.

The reports come during a tense period for the agency. Reuters reports that the Trump administration's proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 would cut EPA funding 31 percent, the biggest planned cut for any federal agency.

The EPA Region 5 office oversees Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

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