The bloated Environmental Protection Agency, headed by Trump appointee Scott Pruitt, is going on a diet.
Long seen by Republicans – and President Trump – as a massive black hole of government waste, the EPA shed thousands of employees in 2017 – down to levels not seen since the Reagan Administration, The Washington Examiner reports.
Those cuts – plus planned retirements by 2021, could mean that Pruitt’s EPA will have cut a staff of nearly 15,000 to less than 8,000 – almost 50 percent.
“We’re proud to report that we’re reducing the size of government, protecting taxpayer dollars and staying true to our core mission of protecting the environment,” Pruitt said in a statement.
One EPA official told The Examiner: “We’re happy to be at Reagan-level employment numbers and the future retirements shows a preview of how low we could get during this administration. It would be fair to say anywhere from 25 to 47 percent of EPA could retire during this administration.”
Under Pruitt, the agency has gone the “back to basics” of protecting the environment while shucking former President Obama’s political agenda focused heavily on climate change.
Here are some figures the EPA provided:
- As of January 3, 2018, the EPA has 14,162 employees.
- The last time EPA was at an actual employment level of 14,440 was in fiscal year 1988 when Reagan was president.
- 23 percent of EPA employees can retire with full benefits and another 4 percent can retire at the end of 2018.
- Additionally, another 20 percent of EPA employees will be eligible for retirement in the next five years.
- Taken together, 47 percent of the EPA will be eligible to retire with full benefits in the next 5 years.
With some people at the EPA, it didn’t take much prodding. Since Pruitt’s appointment, more than 700 personnel have either retired, quit, or taken voluntary early retirements. Many, the leftist ThinkProgress reports, are quitting in “disgust.”
“There has been a drop of employees of 770 between April and December. While several hundred of those are buyouts, the rest of those are either people that are retiring or quitting in disgust,” Kyla Bennett, director of New England Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), told ThinkProgress. “Is that number higher than it would normally be? I think it is.”
Leftists said that Pruitt’s nomination was like putting a pyromaniac in charge of fire protection. They attacked his connections to the fossil-fuel industry.
“Having Scott Pruitt in charge of the US Environmental Protection Agency is like putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said of the nomination.
It got so ridiculously silly that famous actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio brought his concerns directly to President-Elect Trump at his New York City offices, where he and activist Terry Tamminen reportedly prepared a presentation explaining how preserving the environment has a positive effect on the economy.
What do you think? How small should the EPA go? Could it be one guy with a air quality meter, a flashlight and a stapler in a cubicle somewhere? Sound off below! Do we need an EPA at all? Let us know!