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News Releases from Region 05

2019 Year in Review Highlighting EPA Accomplishments and Environmental Progress

Region 5 gains include improved air quality, Great Lakes restoration, cleanups, redevelopment

Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (
312-886-7613, 312-898-2042 cell

For Immediate Release No. 20-OPA-006

CHICAGO (Feb. 6, 2020) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the 2019 Year in Review outlining major accomplishments and environmental progress during the Trump administration.

“Under President Trump, we have fulfilled many promises to the American people to address some of our most important environmental and human health challenges while unleashing the economy and fostering innovation,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “In 2019, EPA deleted 27 Superfund sites – the largest number of sites deleted from the National Priorities List since FY 2001 – and proposed the first update to the Lead and Copper Rule in nearly three decades. Since the beginning of the administration, EPA has finalized 49 deregulatory actions saving Americans more than $5 billion in regulatory costs and re-designated 35 areas around the country, moving them into attainment with federal air quality standards and lifting major regulatory burdens off local businesses. As we celebrate our 50th year of EPA, I am honored to lead an agency with such a successful record.”

“None of these achievements would have been possible without the sustained efforts and dedication of Region 5’s talented staff,” said Regional Administrator Kurt Thiede. “I am proud to champion their hard work which has resulted in real environmental and public health victories for all of us who live in the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.”   

Here in EPA Region 5, accomplishments include significant strides toward cleaner air, Great Lakes restoration, trash-free waters and completing Superfund cleanups. Region 5 also focused its work on smart sectors, opportunity zones and redevelopment. Some highlights are:  

  • Completing five air quality re-designations (a third of the nation’s total) and staying on track for an unprecedented 15 more areas to be re-designated in 2020. Last year, Columbus, Ohio, was the nation’s first non-attainment area to meet the 2015 ozone air quality standard – delivering cleaner air for 4 million people.
  • Funding, through the Sustain Our Great Lakes partnership, 26 Great Lakes restoration projects across the basin with federal investments totaling $6.9 and non-federal investments totaling $8.1 million.
  • Restoring beneficial uses at five Great Lakes “Areas of Concern” in five states putting them on the road to recovery and de-listing – and promoting revitalization in surrounding communities.  
  • Kicking off a new Trash-Free Great Lakes grant program which makes $2 million available for beach, shoreline and waterway cleanups throughout the basin.
  • Deleting six Superfund sites in Region 5 from the National Priorities List; completing cleanups at 16 sites; and declaring 26 sites are ready for reuse. Also, completing emergency cleanups at 50 sites.
  • Targeting Brownfield grants to incentivize investments in opportunity zones. Region 5 leveraged more than $559 million in outside investments for cleanup and redevelopment which created 2,963 new jobs in local communities. And redevelopments at RACER auto sector sites are projected to result in $17.5 million in investments and 38 new jobs.   
  • Working with trade associations and chambers of commerce in six states to launch a new Smart Sectors regional team who will hit the ground running in 2020.

Click here to read the full report: