Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb toured a clean-up site in Whiting, Indiana Thursday, but the meeting was largely kept under wraps.
Pruitt, who faces a new investigation into his personal travel, did not take questions from the press, or even publicize his visit.
The meeting was so secretive that only a video from environmental activist Thomas Frank captured Pruitt and Holcomb touring the site.
“We just happened to find him and his people in the alleyway,” Frank said.
There are several Superfund sites in the Whiting and East Chicago area, and new testing began two years ago near Federated Metals to see if there was any contamination at the site.
Pruitt didn’t provide any updates on the cleanup effort, and some EPA employees aren’t happy with the way the visit was handled.
“Scott Pruitt refuses to meet with EPA employees like me, who took their oath very seriously,” environmental scientist Felicia Chase said.
Other employees say that Pruitt also visited the agency’s Chicago office, holding meetings with state directors. He arrived at the meeting by underground tunnel, and reportedly did not meet with regional employees of the agency.
“He has not taken the time to meet with all of the staff to tell us about his policies and what he’s doing,” EPA union leader Michael Mikulka said.
Even with all of the efforts to keep his visit a secret, the extra security in the air and in the building left some employees and environmentalists upset that the administrator didn’t take the time to meet with the public.
“I think there were missed opportunities to actually meet with the community,” Frank said.
On his visit to Chicago a year ago, Pruitt took in a Cubs game, but it’s unclear whether he was at Wrigley Field Thursday.