March 05, 2019

Casten Meets with EPA Region 5 Administrator Kathy Stepp

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Sean Casten (IL-06) met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 Administrator Kathy Stepp, to urge the agency to fulfill its mission to ensure the safety of our communities, including the 6th District of Illinois. , the Congressman was particularly critical of the EPA's failure to thoroughly investigate the threat of ethylene oxide emissions at the Sterigenics facility in the town of Willowbrook. Casten currently serves on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

Casten writes, in part, "I am increasingly concerned that under this Administration the U.S. EPA is failing to live up to its core mission by choosing to put the interests of polluters ahead of the people both in our region and across the country. From the beginning of President Trump's term, this EPA has prioritized rolling back environmental regulations instead of finding ways to strengthen our protections and combat the real issues facing our planet.

Unfortunately, this laissez-faire approach to the EPA's core mission has also had a direct impact on my constituents in Illinois' 6th District. After dangerously elevated levels of ethylene oxide emissions were detected at the Sterigenics facility in the Town of Willowbrook, the EPA repeatedly failed to inform citizens of the risks or mount any response that would sufficiently curb the problem. Even before my election to Congress, I was calling for decisive action from the U.S. EPA to address these alarming reports but was consistently met with silence.

Despite all of this, I hope that we can work together, and I hope that trust can be earned back. The U.S. EPA can and ought to be a force for good in our community, in our country, and, by example, across the globe. The call for safe drinking water, clean air, clean water, and a safe climate shouldn't be partisan and cannot be up for debate. The EPA is staffed with lifetime public servants who are committed to this mission. I, too, admire and support that mission greatly and I will stand ready to work with you to uphold it."