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Monday, 17 July 2017 16:56

EPA employees criticize efforts to reduce staffing ahead of House budget debate

Written by  Mark Hand

The Environmental Protection Agency has sent letters to 182 staffers in its Midwest regional office offering buyouts or early retirements as part of the Trump administration’s plans to drastically reduce the size of the agency.

Using funds from the current fiscal-year budget, the EPA is hoping 79 employees in the region will agree to the buyouts or early retirements, Mike Mikulka, American Federal of Government Employees Local 704 President, told reporters on a conference call Monday. The EPA Region 5 office, based in Chicago, currently has about 1,150 employees.

The buyouts in the EPA’s Midwest region are part of a larger effort by President Donald Trump to weaken the agency, according to speakers on the conference call. The agency plans to offer to buy out 1,227 positions across the nation, with 655 of those offers going to positions within agency headquarters, E&E News reported Monday. Employees who take the early retirements or buyouts will have to leave the agency by September 2.

Trump’s plan to eliminate EPA regional programs puts public health ‘in jeopardy’ FY18 budget would do away with clean-up initiatives from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast.thinkprogress.org

Mikulka expects many EPA employees will agree to the offers. “Federal employees have been demonized by certain interest groups as well as Congress over time, and people are tired of it,” he said.

Read more at ThinkProgress

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