Morning Shift

New EPA Head In Chicago Praised By Industry, Reviled By Environmentalists

Residents of East Chicago, Ind., and supporters rally near a public-housing complex Wednesday, April 19, 2017, where roughly 1,000 people were ordered evacuated because of lead contamination. AP Photo/Teresa Crawford

Daniel Tucker

The Trump administration has named the former head of Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources as the new administrator in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s office in Chicago, which oversees air and water pollution and more in six of the states that border the Great Lakes: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio. 

Cathy Stepp is a businesswoman who served as a state senator before running the Wisconsin DNR from 2011 to 2017. Her appointment was praised by business leaders and panned by environmental groups. During her tenure in Wisconsin, she eased anti-pollution regulations, cut funding for scientific research and removed language from the department’s website that stated that climate change is man-made. 

Morning Shift talks to Michael Hawthorne, Chicago Tribune investigative reporter who focuses on environment and public health issues, about what impact Stepp could have on various EPA projects that are still left undone since the end of the Obama administration.