The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s new administrator is cleaning house. It was announced today that the agency’s workforce will shrink to Reagan-era levels:
The EPA employs about 15,000 people.
After buyouts and retirements, that number could drop to 14,428 by October, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said in an email.
The voluntary buyouts were offered in June to more than 1,200 workers. Almost a third of those eligible took the buyout and, coupled with a dozen retirements on Aug. 31, the agency trimmed its staff by about 2.5% in less than a week. Several dozen more workers could retire or opt to take the buyout later this month, which would cut EPA’s total number of employees to almost 14,400 workers, the lowest since 1988. Two years ago it had more than 15,500 employees nationwide.
Despite being lambasted by critics, Scott Pruitt is doing a great job cleaning up the mess left by his predecessor, Gina McCarthy. As I wrote here a few weeks back, even the Denver Post offered praise for Pruitt for his response to help compensate victims affected by the 2015 Gold Mine spill in Colorado:
The EPA employees who triggered the Gold King deluge were trying to help. They were working on privately owned property to help clean up historic contamination from decades of mining operations. Opening up the EPA for lawsuits in such situations sets a dangerous precedent.
But sometimes the government’s negligence is so egregious that hiding behind sovereign immunity — as the EPA did under President Barack Obama — becomes shameful.
A lot of people are giving Pruitt flack and not the benefit of the doubt. Let’s hope he can continue to reform the agency.