Donald Trump has been president for 18 months, and in that time, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has lost nearly 8 percent of its workforce.
Nearly 1,600 employees left the EPA and fewer than 400 were hired, according to The Washington Post. The loss has resulted in the lowest levels of employment since the Reagan administration.
As a candidate, Trump promised to gut the EPA, saying he would leave “tidbits,” but “take a tremendous amount out." So far, the agency’s budget has remained “stable,” according to the Post, yet employees keep leaving.
“Several veteran EPA employees, who have worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations, said the agency’s profound policy shifts under Trump hastened their departure,” the Post wrote.
The agency has lost more than 260 scientists, 185 environmental protection specialists, and 106 engineers, according to Freedom of Information Act data obtained by the Post. Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler told the Post that “nearly half” of EPA employees are eligible to retire in the next five years, and he is focusing on recruitment and quality instead of numbers.