Scott Pruitt missed many opportunities in East Chicago

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Environmental activists protest outside the Carrie Gosch Elementary School before a visit by U.S. EPA Adminstrator Scott Pruitt on April 19, in East Chicago, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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East Chicago, Indiana, faces many pressing environmental issues — none of which was addressed by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt when he visited on his “Back2Basics” tour recently. Pruitt was supposed to visit the East Chicago Superfund site, also known as USS Lead, to see first hand the negative health impacts from exposure to lead and arsenic — two extremely dangerous chemicals. His brief visit was a disappointment, he missed many opportunities to engage with the community, refused to talk to press and wouldn’t engage with stakeholders at the site. His visit was politically motivated and tone deaf to the real issues facing real people here in East Chicago; it underscored exactly where his priorities lie.

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The former smelting facility, which ceased operations over 30 years ago, left a dangerous legacy behind. The soil in East Chicago city is contaminated with toxic chemicals including arsenic and lead, and now there are concerns those chemicals have been leaching into the drinking water. We need leaders in Washington to stand up for the health of Hoosiers, but right now Pruitt’s actions speak louder than his words.

With deep cuts to programs that oversee enforcement and air regulations we’ve depended on for generations, Indiana and federal agencies will be powerless to prevent and tackle environmental disasters and public safety crises. At a time when this community needs the Environmental Protection Agency the most, Trump’s proposed budget cuts would leave East Chicago’s nearly 30,000 residents vulnerable to continued arsenic and lead exposure. Indiana deserve a budget that puts our families and communities first. If Pruitt’s visit demonstrated anything, it’s that he is not committed, nor will his agency be adequately funded, to address the threats facing East Chicago, and communities our across our state.

David Woronecki-Ellis, Hobart, Indiana

No ties

Ties. Everywhere we look today we see male leaders presenting themselves officially and publicly without ties. We know that the only thing permanent is change, and that certainly applies as well to fashion. However, why would anyone take seriously such a public official dressed that way?

What’s next? Shirts untucked?

Leon J. Hoffman, Lake View

Don’t allow gun silencers

If we allow gun silencers to be legalized by passing SB 50, we will see more dead children and innocent victims caught in gang crossfire. Mass shootings and school shootings will be even more deadly. Adding to our current gun violence crisis, fewer gun felons will be caught. Everything that is dangerous, destructive and deadly about gun violence is made worse by making silencers available to anyone with a gun. SB 50 must be defeated.

Imagine how much every criminal with a gun would LOVE to get his hands on a silencer. Suddenly, criminals can elude the gunshot detection technology that has been so effective recently in helping police locate active shooters.

It’s bad enough that guns can be illegally and easily obtained by gangs and other criminals through “straw” dealers. But if SB 50 passes, it will be very good news for an eager criminal market loaded with gun felons, domestic abusers and those experiencing mental health crises and, very bad news for their victims.

They’re called silencers, but what they really are is deadly crime concealers. Anyone who supports SB 50 is, in effect, guilty of aiding and abetting. This proposed law would do precisely that — aid and abet every violent criminal with a gun with the blessing of those we elected to protect us.

The Legislature plans on rolling out SB 50 this Tuesday. Call your senator – now. Tell them to vote no on SB50.

If we remain silent on silencers, the death of that next innocent child, bystander, or police officer trying to stop an active shooter, is on us.

Kathleen Sances, executive director,

Gun Violence Prevention PAC

Wishful thinking

Like most folks, I’d be pleased to pay less taxes — but not at the cost of increasing our country’s horrid fiscal deficit. President Tweeter and his flunkies in Congress tell us sweeping new job creation will compensate. Anyone who believes that doubtless still believes in the tooth fairy and the magical myth of trickle-down economics.

Dan McGuire, Bensenville

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