Losing EPA scientists and engineers means fewer inspectors checking smoke stacks for air pollution, and technicians absent to analyze lead in your drinking water.
John O’Grady, President, AFGE National Council of EPA Locals #238
If this White House has its way, the environmental cops on the beat will soon be gone. Let’s be frank. Losing EPA scientists and engineers means fewer inspectors checking smoke stacks for air pollution, scientists not sampling nitrogen and phosphorus in the Great Lakes and technicians absent to analyze lead in your drinking water.
In January, EPA career staff identified crucial gaps in science and engineering positions. Considering the federal hiring freeze, forced retirements and hostile workplaces, more than 700 personnel have left the EPA since Donald J. Trump took office, and virtually no one has replenished their roles. Worse, when the EPA revealed to the Washington Examiner that it planned to reduce its’ staff by half by 2020, the plan was more breathtaking in its scope and ambition than most had previously imagined.
Ever since embarking on his campaign, Trump has saved his most virulent attacks for the EPA, paradoxically one of the most effective federal agencies of the past 50 years. At first, Trump did not even know the correct name of the agency he sought to condemn, telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity that “The Department of Environmental…I mean, the D-E-P is killing us environmentally, it’s just killing our businesses.”
Time is critical. Congress must stop the bleeding of technical experts at the EPA. They must pay specific attention to how it appropriates the funds allocated to the EPA in the budget. It must resist requests to reduce agency staff. Congress must not endorse “workforce reshaping” — a euphemism for stripping the agency of scientists and endangering public health in the process.
“Ever since embarking on his campaign, Trump has saved his most virulent attacks for the EPA, paradoxically one of the most effective federal agencies of the past 50 years.”
Only Congress stands in the way of Trump’s plan to reduce by half the scientists and engineers keeping us safe. The next month will be crucial. The fiscal 2019 budget includes another $35 million in early retirement incentives that could lead to the departures of an additional 1,000 employees.
You can help save the U.S. EPA by contacting your Member of Congress via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121, on-line at the U.S. House of Representatives: www.house.gov and the U.S. Senate: www.senate.gov.
AFGE National Council of EPA Locals #238