The Department of Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency are both making major cuts to their staff – and the pink slips are about to start flying.
On June 20, Interior secretary Ryan Zinke told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that about 4,000 full-time positions would be eliminated by “sometime next year,” in order to balance the budget, through a combination of “attrition, reassignments and separation incentives.”
An additional 1,200 employees are being cut from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by early September, in a combination of early retirements and buyouts. The Washington Post reported that the EPA has budgeted $12 million for the buyouts.
Dozens of scientists within the EPA have also been advised that their contracts will not be renewed to the Board of Scientific Counselors. Deborah Swackhamer, the current chair of the executive committee, lamented, “It effectively wipes out the BOSC and leaves it free for a complete reappointment.”
EPA head Scott Pruitt has stated that about 20 percent of the agency is currently eligible for retirement.
The Trump administration has announced plans to cut about $1.4 billion from the Interior budget, and reduce the EPA’s budget by about a third.
The EPA is also slashing subsidies for employees’ gym memberships, saving nearly $1 million per year according to Newsweek.
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