The former head of President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team has claimed that the president hopes to get rid of at least half of the EPA’s 15,000 jobs, noting that much of the work supposedly carried out by the federal organization is actually accomplished at the state level.
Myron Ebell, who led Trump’s EPA team during the transition and has since returned to his position as director of the Center for Energy and the Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, broke the news about the president’s ambitions.
“Let’s aim for half and see how it works out, and then maybe we’ll want to go further,” Ebell told The Associated Press. He also hinted that Trump could be reasonably expected to slash at least $1 billion from the EPA’s approximately $8 billion annual budget.
“President Trump said during the campaign that he would like to abolish the EPA, or ‘leave a little bit.’ I think the administration is likely to start proposing cuts to the 15,000 staff, because the fact is that a huge amount of the work of the EPA is actually done by state agencies. It’s not clear why so many employees are needed at the federal level,” Ebell added.
According to Ebell, the cuts are necessary since former President Barack Obama heavily “politicized” the issue of global warming and staffed the EPA and other federal agencies with “scientists who believe the global-warming alarmist agenda.”
Trump’s pick for EPA Director, Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt, disagreed with Trump’s assertion that global warming is a Chinese hoax during his Senate confirmation hearing. However, he has promised to roll back Obama administration regulations targeting carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Ebell also agrees that global temperatures are increasing, but he does not see it as an entirely man-made problem nor a phenomenon worth worrying about.
“The fact is that in modern society we have the technology to deal with environmental challenges, and that’s why people live in Phoenix,” he said. “Because warm is good, as long as we have air conditioning.”