Cuts To The EPA Budget
Cuts to the EPA budget
While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be used to policy changes with every election cycle, the changes it has had to shoulder under President Donald Trump are of historically unprecedented proportions.
The EPA has had to suffer the most as Trump scales back on the United States’ leadership in environmental stewardship, most notably of which was its pullout from the Paris agreement on climate change. But perhaps the agency's biggest hurdle is the massive cut from the EPA’s budget by nearly a third. Much of this comes from axing 3,000 out of its 15,000 positions. Mercifully, the EPA’s demographics skew closer to early-retirement to retiring ages, which would allow the agency under Scott Pruitt to instead offer monetary incentives and buyout packages worth $12 million for employees to retire rather than be laid off.
Although these incentives have not been specifically stated yet, a memo sent on May 17 stated a payout of up to $25,000 for employees who opt for early retirement. But while these incentives make it easier to downsize the EPA’s workforce, the fact remains that many long-time employees are disgruntled and demoralized by the lack of support from President Trump.
Furthermore, those who are eligible for the early retirement package are likely the EPA’s most experienced as well. A mass exodus would leave the EPA with a younger and less experienced demographic whose ability to ward off Trump’s meat-ax could be put to question.
Where will these newly retired employees go now?
Many of them have expressed a willingness to continue working in other jobs where they can expand on the work they have begun while at the EPA. California, for example, is reportedly trying to entice many of its experienced workers to continue their careers in the Golden State. In fact, California has been busy handing out flyers to encourage those who will retire to come work with the state. Regardless, one can only hope that these employees find their place and continue the work they do despite the lack of support from this administration.
One can only hope that this mass exodus of scientists and leaders could raise awareness about what this could mean for the environment, especially as the EPA is currently under the leadership of Exxon Mobil's Scott Pruitt, which recently approved conducting a climate impact report despite repeated attempts to downplay man's role. As Trump’s efforts to repeal policies tackling climate change endanger the United States’ natural resources, many are hopeful that leaders from both Congress and Senate heed the people’s call for change. Until then, it’s a waiting game for everyone who is a stakeholder in the environment.