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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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.