It looks like Chicago will retain a regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. At least for now.

In some little-noted testimony to a House subcommittee last week, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt termed “pure legend” widespread talk that the Region V Great Lakes office here will be closed and merged with an office in the Kansas City area. “There is no consideration presently with respect to any regional offices about moving them to one location or another,” he said.

That doesn’t mean cuts aren’t on the way. EPA staffers here reportedly are to hear details today of a voluntary buyout program in the wake of big budget reductions sought by the Trump administration.

Still, for the moment, the office itself stays.

Howard Learner, head of the Environmental Law & Policy Center here, attributed the step to “bipartisan pressure” but said he’s ready for the fight to resume later. “We will remain vigilant, and we hope this bad idea has been brought to an end and not just deferred,” Learner said.


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