March 21, 2019 - Issue: Vol. 165, No. 50 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 1st Session
HONORING MICHAEL MIKULKA; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 50
(Extensions of Remarks - March 21, 2019)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E321] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] HONORING MICHAEL MIKULKA ______ HON. JANICE D. SCHAKOWSKY of illinois in the house of representatives Thursday, March 21, 2019 Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor the distinguished career of Michael Mikulka, who is retiring after 43 years of distinguished service at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and after serving as President of AFGE Local 704. Mike was recently awarded ``Man of the Year'' honors by AFGE District 7 for his fight to save the EPA Region 5 office and the jobs of the scientists and engineers who protect the Midwest. He helped protect our environment and fought for the rights of EPA workers over his more than four decades of work at the EPA, and I honor and thank him for his important work. Michael Mikulka started his career at the Environmental Protection Agency in November 1976 in the Water Division at EPA's Region 5 Chicago, Illinois Office, where he first helped municipalities receive grants under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to install wastewater treatment plant systems. He then enforced the Clean Water Act, taking charge of the Region's CWA enforcement, bringing cases in civil court for injunctive relief and penalties against polluters who dumped toxins into our lakes and streams. Mike then moved to the EPA Region 5 Land and Chemicals Division, where he was charged with cleaning up complicated hazardous waste sites in communities throughout the Midwest. As part of his career at EPA, Mike received numerous commendations, awards and medals attesting to his superior service to the region. Mike has been a Professional Engineer for over 35 years and was recently elected a life member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, where he has been a member for over 40 years. Some of the significant projects Mike worked on at EPA include: Participating on an inter-agency task force which developed the plan to clean up the Combined Sewer Overflows in the Twin Cities; Helping develop the Region 5 Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) control strategy, much of which was later incorporated into the national CSO control strategy; Leading an interagency task force to develop a strategy to clean up the Grand Calumet River, the most polluted river in the Great Lakes region; Bringing and resolving cases against those polluting the Grand Calumet River, as Chief of Clean Water Act (CWA) enforcement officer for Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota; While he was the EPA Region 5 head of CWA enforcement, the region consistently led the nation in environmental enforcement with respect to numbers of cases, penalties collected, and environmental benefit; Helping EPA Region 5's Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Branch became the regional enforcement contact on the RCRA hazardous waste air emissions standards and conducted training nationwide for EPA, states and industry; Providing technical assistance to regional staff to develop and prosecute cases against fuel blenders and other treatment, storage and disposal facilities who were not meeting the RCRA air emissions standards; Working on significant hazardous waste cleanup projects across the Region, including active and closed steel mills in northwest Indiana and Ohio; Cleaning up arsenic and other contamination from the Menominee River, resulting in an ability to de-list the river as a Great Lakes Area of Concern. As a Member of Congress, I have personally worked with Mike and have observed his endless dedication to the environment and to the hard- working employees of the EPA. Mike will be remembered for his important work protecting the environment in the region, for his leadership in AFGE Local 704, and for his support of the EPA and its wonderful staff. He will be missed. ____________________