EPA Region 5’s New Director

Frigid Lake Michigan from Veterans Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Temperture at the time of photo, 12°F.

The incoming head of the Region 5 of the EPA, who will be responsible for the Great Lakes states, and thus about 85% of North America’s fresh water, is no friend of the environment.

“In the six years she ran the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources… [Cathy] Stepp showed little interest in environmental stewardship,” says this Chicago Tribune editorial. Under her tenure, wastewater polluters went unchecked, water was undrinkable in some parts of her state, and her staff quit in droves.

With no natural resource experience, Cathy Stepp gutted the Wisconsin DNR, and as an industry proponent, her record reflects no interest in protecting our natural resources.

Region 5 plays a critical role keeping the water, rivers, and wildlife of Illinois safe, and the Great Lakes and Lake Michigan are too important to leave unprotected. We need leaders who value safe drinking water for all Illinois. We need leaders who don’t side with polluters.

“All of us will need to fight harder to protect the quality of our air and drinking water as we watch the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Donald Trump increasingly put down its tools and walk off the job,” the Tribune says.

Is Cathy Stepp the type of leadership we need in Region 5? That remains to be seen. The Great Lakes deserve better because Illinois can’t wait.