More than 1,600 workers have left the Environmental Protection Agency and less than 400 have been hired in the first 18 months of the Trump administration, marking an eight percent decrease in the EPA’s employment size, The Washington Post has reported.
While on the campaign trail in 2016, President Donald Trump discussed dismantling the EPA, saying, “We are going to get rid of it in almost every form. We’re going to have little tidbits left but we’re going to take a tremendous amount out,” according to Politifact.
Some agency employees cited Trump as a reason for their leaving the EPA.
“I felt it was time to leave given the irresponsible, ongoing diminishment of agency resources, which has recklessly endangered our ability to execute our responsibilities as public servants,” Ann Williamson, an EPA scientist based out of Seattle who had been with the agency for 33 years, told the Post.
EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said that almost half of all employees will be eligible for retirement within five years, stressing that “my priority is recruiting and maintaining the right staff, the right people for our mission, rather than total full-time employees.”
Before leaving his post this past July, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said that the size of the agency would be reduced from 15,000 to 8,000 jobs by 2021, according to the Washington Examiner.
That would mean a 47-percent reduction and would be achieved by not replacing officials retiring by that year, he said.
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