News Feature | January 9, 2018

With EPA Cuts, Critics Fear Loss Of Water Oversight

Peter Chawaga - editor

By Peter Chawaga

As the U.S. EPA is reshaped under President Trump, some are concerned over what has been reported as an “exodus” of employees from the agency.

“More than 700 people have left the Environmental Protection Agency since President Trump took office, a wave of departures that puts the administration nearly a quarter of the way toward a goal of shrinking the agency to levels last seen during the Reagan administration,” reported The New York Times. “Of the employees who have quit, retired or taken a buyout package since the beginning of the year, more than 200 are scientists.”

With a stated goal of cutting back at the EPA in order to reduce unnecessary spending and clear onerous regulations from affecting American businesses, some fear that the current administration has taken away resources necessary for protecting the nation’s water.

“Employees say the exodus has left the agency depleted of decades of knowledge about protecting the nation’s air and water,” per the Tampa Bay Times. “Many also said they saw the departures as part of a more worrisome trend of muting government scientists, cutting research budgets and making it more difficult for academic scientists to serve on advisory boards.”

The agency office that ensures safe drinking water, for instance, has lost 26 employees and hired only one, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

While the cuts may provide benefits in the short term, critics fear it is only a matter of time before negative repercussions are felt by the public.

“The impact of losing so many scientists may not be felt for months or years,” The New York Times reported. “But science permeates every part of the agencies work, from assessing the health risks of chemical explosions like the one in Houston during Hurricane Harvey to determining when groundwater is safe to drink after a spill.”

For similar stories visit Water Online’s Drinking Water Regulations And Legislation Solutions Center.

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