EPA chief heads to Texas to see Harvey cleanup

EPA chief heads to Texas to see Harvey cleanup
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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittHillicon Valley: Facebook, Google struggle to block terrorist content | Cambridge Analytica declares bankruptcy in US | Company exposed phone location data | Apple starts paying back taxes to Ireland Overnight Energy: Pruitt taps man behind 'lock her up' chant for EPA office | Watchdog to review EPA email policies | Three Republicans join climate caucus Six steps Pruitt must take on his legal defense fund to avoid another scandal MORE traveled to Houston on Friday to see Hurricane Harvey cleanup efforts and survey work by environmental officials.

Pruitt toured the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site and met with leading federal and state officials involved in environmental oversight of the area’s recovery from the historic storm, which dumped more than 40 inches of rain on the area, the agency said.

The EPA chief and his staff have faced criticism on a number of fronts since Harvey hit late last month.

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Pruitt, a skeptic of the scientific consensus on climate change, told CNN it was “insensitive” to discuss the role of climate change in the storm during recovery efforts.

In addition, the agency was criticized for not immediately inspecting Superfund sites on the ground after Harvey hit and officials rolled back a chemical plant safety rule earlier this year designed to mitigate incidents like a plant explosion near Houston.

“EPA remains committed to providing the necessary resources and personnel to ensure those affected by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey receive proper agency attention,” Pruitt said in a statement after his tour and meetings with EPA, Federal Emergency Management Agency and Texas Council on Environmental Quality officials.

“We continue to work closely with our federal, state, and local partners to ensure Superfund are being properly secured, fuel prices remain stabilized, and infrastructure and environmental assessments are thoroughly carried out,” he said.

In addition to the San Jacinto River Waste Pits tour, Pruitt did a flyover tour of six other Superfund cleanup sites in the area, the EPA said.