News has surfaced that the Environmental Protection Agency is planning on cutting more than 1,200 jobs from the agency by September of this year, keeping in line with President Donald J. Trump’s campaign pledge to dismantle the EPA. This news follows a proposed 31 percent cut to the agency’s budget, and a government-wide hiring freeze affecting potential new employees.
The Washington Post unveiled that these plans were announced to EPA union leaders in late June in an email stating that buyout offers will be made to as many as 1,228 employees, with a September 2 deadline for applications. Retirement training webinars will be held every Tuesday and Thursday until the end of July.
However, only $12 million has been set aside for buyouts for the agency, providing an average of $9,772 for each departing employee — provided all 1,228 vacancies are made. That number of cuts accounts for roughly eight percent of the EPA’s 15,000 current employees, and EPA head Scott Pruitt announced earlier that twenty percent of the agency’s workforce is eligible for retirement.
Former Senate Republican staffer and co-author of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, Thomas Jorling, says that Pruitt’s self-described "EPA originalism" is "basically a smokescreen to their real intention, which is kind of a moral and ethical corruption, to … restore the dependence of the United States energy system on fossil fuels."