The Trump administration has a strategy to downsize the Environmental Protection Agency’s 15,000-person workforce.
Though across the federal government, the hiring freeze has been lifted, it will remain in place at the EPA, which currently has 350 vacancies. The EPA will also offer buyouts to reduce its staff, said Mike Flynn, the acting deputy administrator in a memo Monday to regional administrators. (Confusingly, the EPA administrator shares a name with the controversial general, but he is not the same person.)
The Washington Post noted how the Trump administration has focused especially on cutting down the EPA.
“The president has promised in the past to reduce the agency to ‘tidbits,’” the Post wrote. “His proposed budget would slash the agency’s funding by 31 percent, cut about 3,200 workers, obliterate funding for climate change research and Superfund cleanups, and scrap more than 50 programs.”
While critics bemoan the agency’s dwindling status, it’s welcome news to for the economy. A Heritage Foundation report published in 2016 noted how the EPA “dominated rulemaking” the year before; it accounted for nearly a fourth of all major rules issued by the federal government, increasing the regulatory burden on the American economy by $11.1 billion.