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East Chicago Mayor Calls For State Of Emergency During Lead Crisis

East Chicago

East Chicago, Indiana Mayor Anthony Copeland says a state of emergency should be declared in his city’s lead contaminated Calumet neighborhood. He told residents Friday that the city needs more resources to combat the crisis.

Mayor Anthony Copeland met with a group of residents from the lead contaminated neighborhood and announced he sent letters to Governor Mike Pence and Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb requesting the emergency declaration.

The Calumet neighborhood is a federally designated toxic clean-up site. Its soil is polluted with lead and arsenic left by former factories.

Residents applauded Copeland’s move and his promise to hold regular meetings to keep them informed. However, many say more can be done. Reverend Cheryl Rivera says the companies charged with the cleanup should also attend these meetings.

“That’s going to be the interesting part. They are a part of the problem and they’re part of the solution,” Rivera says.

Friday's meeting came on the heels of a new revelation some drinking water in the neighborhood is also contaminated with high lead levels. The Environmental Protection Agency says the cause is likely lead in older city pipes and unrelated to lead in the soil.

The city will hold a meeting Monday to discuss the state of its water infrastructure.

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