WASHINGTON, April 12, 2017—Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has requested an additional 10 full-time employees to provide him with a round-the-clock security detail. The request comes on the heels of Donald Trump’s budget proposal, which plans to cut EPA’s budget by 31 percent and reduce its 15,000 workforce by 25 percent.
Pruitt would be the first EPA administrator in history to have a permanent security detail. Traditionally, the EPA chief is accompanied by a door-to-door security detail when traveling between functions, on site visits, and when traveling outside Washington. The 10 new security employees would more than double the EPA’s current infrastructure and operations staff, made up of six to eight agents in past years.
Pruitt’s justification for heightened security appears to be protesters and “the left.”
“I think it’s prudent given the continuing activities by the left to foment hatred, and the reported hostility within the agency from some unprofessional activists,” said Myron Ebell, head of Trump’s EPA transition team.
Pruitt’s request comes a few weeks after Donald Trump revealed a new budget, which proposes to cut EPA’s budget by almost one third, from $8.1 billion to $5.7 billion. Trump’s budget also proposes cutting nearly one fourth of EPA’s 15,000-employee staff.
Pruitt’s request has not been approved yet. In the meantime, according to a February 16 email to staff from Henry Barnet, director of EPA’s criminal enforcement office obtained by E&E News, special agents from EPA’s criminal investigation division are being assigned to protect Pruitt.
This means that criminal investigators will be pulled off from the cases they are currently working on to provide additional protection for Pruitt from an already understaffed division.
“That will have a significant impact on the ability of EPA to enforce criminal regulations,” said Fred Burnside, former director of EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics and Training between 2008 and 2010.
Featured Image: Gage Skidmore, Flickr Creative Commons