Chicago EPA office denies rumors of closing

Aidan Markey, Web Editor

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Chicago office has rejected speculation it will be closing as part of proposed budget cuts by President Donald Trump’s administration.

Robert Kaplan, director of the Region 5 Chicago office, addressed the speculation in a memo sent to the office’s staff Monday, which was subsequently published by the Chicago Sun-Times. He said though the agency has focused on efficiency by cutting down on space and resources, there have been no talks of closing the 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,” Kaplan wrote. “At this time, our discussions have not veered into the subject of an office closure. Anyone stating anything to the contrary is spreading false information.”

The office, which serves Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, was one of two offices rumored to be shut down due to the budget cuts.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel addressed the rumors in a statement released Saturday. In the statement, Emanuel defended the EPA and urged people not to “turn our back on the Great Lakes” by allowing the Trump administration to interfere with the agency.

“The report that the federal government is planning to close the Region 5 office of the EPA should be concerning to us all,” he said in the statement. “Whether you believe in modern science and thus believe in climate change or not, the fact is the EPA exists to protect human health and the environment.”

Other than the publication of Kaplan’s memo, there has been no further official response from the EPA as of April 19.

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