EPA union asks Pruitt for meeting over talk of closing office

EPA union asks Pruitt for meeting over talk of closing office
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The labor union representing Environmental Protection Agency workers at a regional office reportedly on the chopping block are asking for a meeting with the agency’s administrator this week.

AFGE Local 704, which represents 1,000 EPA employees in the Midwest, invited Scott Pruitt to a lunch meeting on Wednesday during his trip to the Chicago area, saying, “We need to talk.”

“EPA Region 5 employees request your presence for a lunch, as long as you’re in the area, to discuss the devastating impact of your proposed EPA cuts,” the union wrote in a formal invite they tweeted on Tuesday. 

Pruitt is scheduled to visit a Superfund site in East Chicago, Ind., on Wednesday. The Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday that Pruitt, an avid baseball fan, is also planning to attend a Chicago Cubs game.

An EPA spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Pruitt's schedule and the union's invitation.

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Pruitt’s trip will come two days after the Sun-Times reported that the Trump administration is considering closing the Chicago-based Region 5 office as part of an agency restricting.  

The Trump administration denied that it was planning on immediately closing the office. But local lawmakers, including Republicans, said they were uneasy about reports of shutting it down and moving its operations elsewhere. 

A spokesman for Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanRocky rollout for Senate healthcare bill The Hill's Whip List: Senate ObamaCare repeal bill What’s in the Senate healthcare bill MORE (R-Ohio) said, “We’re watching these reports closely, and certainly Sen. Portman would be very concerned about the potential impact this may have on our efforts to protect the Great Lakes.”

Trump has proposed a 31 percent cut in the EPA’s budget, a plan that would slash 3,200 of the agency’s 15,000 jobs.