President Trump's former EPA transition leader wants "substantial cuts"

Myron Ebell wants to fire 10,000 EPA employees and reduce its budget by $4 billion

By Matthew Rozsa
Published January 31, 2017 10:44PM (EST)
 (AP Photo/Josh Wood)
(AP Photo/Josh Wood)

The former head of President Trump's transition effort for the Environmental Protection Agency wants to seriously gut the department.

"My own personal view is that the EPA would be better served if it were a much leaner organization that had substantial cuts," Myron Ebell told The Washington Post on Monday. Ebell also suggested slashing the EPA's manpower by firing 10,000 employees and reducing its budget by roughly $4 billion (it currently has an $8.1 billion budget), although he added that he could not confirm whether President Trump agreed with these policy proposals.

"You’re not going to get Congress to make significant cuts unless you ask for significant cuts," Ebell said, arguing that it would be more difficult for the agency to commit "regulatory overreach" with a reduced budget and personnel force.

This isn't the first time that Ebell has expressed anti-environmental views. In 2011 he referred to global warming as a "fad" that is "waning" due to a "weak scientific case," even arguing that "many people have realized that warmer climates are more pleasant and healthier." Last November he accused President Barack Obama of promoting climate change policies that "pose a grave threat to our economy and especially to the health and well-being of poor people."

While Ebell's specific predictions may not come to pass, President Trump is almost certainly going to be an anti-environmental president. Last week he put a freeze on EPA grants and contracts and in December he tapped Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to run the EPA, even though he had fossil fuels lobbyists ghostwrite letters to the EPA and (like Trump) is a climate change denier.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Donald Trump Epa Myron Ebell Scott Pruitt