Emergency disaster declared in East Chicago by Gov. Eric Holcomb

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EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (AP) — A state disaster emergency is being declared over East Chicago’s lead contamination nearly two months after then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence rejected the city’s request.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said Thursday that the 30-day emergency declaration will focus on helping find new homes for about 100 residents remaining at a public-housing complex and discussing options with new federal agency leaders.

Holcomb says he hopes the declaration will accelerate coordination among local, state and federal agencies.

East Chicago’s mayor sought the designation in hopes it would make more state programs available to residents dealing with the contamination that’s forcing more than 1,000 people to move from the West Calumet Housing Complex.

Pence’s office said in December a disaster declaration wasn’t needed because federal and state agencies were already addressing the situation.

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