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Midwest gets new EPA regional director – Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune

Oct 12, 2021 6:03 PM

President Joe Biden on Tuesday appointed Debra Shore, a Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago commissioner, as Midwest regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Shore, who has been an elected commissioner on the water reclamation district since 2006, takes the top post for the EPA’s Region 5, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, as well as the lands of 35 federally recognized tribes in those states.

Debra Shore, a Pete Buttigieg supporter, during an endorsement session held by the New Trier Democrats on Jan. 26, 2020.

Debra Shore, a Pete Buttigieg supporter, during an endorsement session held by the New Trier Democrats on Jan. 26, 2020. (Brian OMahoney / Pioneer Press)

“Debra’s knowledge and experience on water infrastructure issues, the impact of climate change, and the protection of the Great Lakes will help her lead Region 5,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement. “I am grateful to have her joining the team and I look forward to working with her to advance this administration’s priorities and fulfill the EPA’s mission.”

In a statement, Shore said she was honored by the appointment but said the challenges ahead for the region’s environment were “daunting.”

She cited “aging urban infrastructure leading to water quality dangers, flooding and basement backups, human communities that have been disproportionately impacted by industrial pollution, the persistent presence of toxic chemicals in soil and water, nutrient runoff causing harmful algal blooms in lakes and bays, invasive species” as among the issues confronting her office.

In addition, she said her work will include “respecting and supporting expertise, focusing on equality in the workforce and in the communities the agency serves, ensuring transparency and advancing justice.”

Shore, 69, of Evanston, helped found Friends of the Forest Preserves in 1996 and began working to elect more progressive members to the Cook County Board. Her 2006 election to the water reclamation district made her the first openly gay nonjudicial candidate elected countywide in Cook County.

Shore’s replacement on the water reclamation board will be named by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.


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