A motion filed with the U.S. District Court for Northern Indiana asked the court to give residents of the Calumet neighborhood a more effective voice in the ongoing discussions between the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice and the two companies held responsible for contamination at the Superfund site.
"The residents' interests have not been adequately represented," said Debbie Chizewer, of Northwestern University's Environmental Advocacy Clinic, which is assisting the residents for the case.
The residents are entitled to intervene in the court proceedings in order to ensure that a remediation plan protects human health and the environment; the plan covers the entire area affected by contamination; protections are in place to prevent exposure to hazardous material during and after the remediation; and that residents stay informed and can give input on remediation plans, read the court documents
David Chizewer, principal in the firm's Litigation group, said the EPA declared the neighborhood a Superfund site in 2009, released the record of decision in 2012 but it wasn't until the summer that residents were informed of the levels of contamination.
The U.S. District Court for Northern Indiana, in 2014, approved a consent decree between the EPA, Department of Justice, state of Indiana, the Atlantic Richfield Company and E.I. du Pont De Nemours regarding the cleanup of the U.S. Smelter and Lead Refinery site.
The residents at the East Chicago Superfund site are an environmental justice community because it's primarily low income and minority, Debbie Chizewer said, and the EPA has made a commitment to protect these populations around Superfund sites.