As promised, President Donald Trump is reducing the bloated staff at the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA on Tuesday showed The Washington Examiner the results of its first year cutting staff: “The agency is below levels last seen during former President Reagan’s administration.”
A group of staffers pegged to retire by early 2021 will bring the number of staffers at the EPA down; from nearly 15,000, to below 8,000, or a cut of 47 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,” Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement.
Here are the numbers:
- As of January 3, 2018, the EPA has 14,162 employees.
- The last time the 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.
- Another 20 percent of EPA employees will be eligible for retirement in the next five years.
- All told, 47 percent of the EPA will be eligible to retire with full benefits in the next 5 years.
According to an EPA official, “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.”
The Examiner report said that Pruitt has used buyouts to spur some of the cuts and attractive retirement benefits that have also led many to leave the agency. He also instituted a hiring freeze.
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, according to the report.