Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees can earn hefty salaries while mostly working from home as they issue costly regulations for key American industries, according to a new report from government transparency group Open The Books.
The average EPA employee takes home an annual salary of nearly $125,000 in fiscal year 2022, with 77% of the staff making at least $100,000 in fiscal year 2022, according to the Open The Books report. Additionally, sub-management level employees are permitted to work remotely four days of the week, while managers are required to be in the office for at least four days each two-week pay period.
In the past calendar year, the EPA has proposed numerous regulations that are likely to limit consumer choice and drive up costs of goods for Americans. Examples of such rules include a proposal that would force auto manufacturers to make their new car fleets 67% electric by 2032, a finalized rule that will require new heavy-duty truck manufacturers to meet tighter emissions standards for trucks produced after 2027 and numerous other proposals targeting coal-fired power plants with air quality standards and technological requirements.
“Along with the exorbitant spending being pumped through the agency at record speed, the ranks of EPA staff are likely to balloon as well,” Adam Andrzejewski, founder and CEO of Open The Books, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “President Biden has asked Congress for thousands of additional full-time equivalent staff, growing the agency to 17,077 – at an eye-popping $12 billion cost to the taxpayer.”
“Ironically, while the EPA enjoys work-from-home flexibility and generous salaries, the Biden ‘energy transition’ is likely to mean higher costs and fewer choices for consumers,” he continued.
Biden's EPA Will Use New Regulations To Bury Coal Industry https://t.co/k89Irz20Q0
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) July 31, 2022
More than 280 EPA employees have higher salaries than EPA chief Michael Regan, who made $183,100 in fiscal year 2022, according to Open The Books. The agency also employs 222 “public affairs officers,” whose salaries have cost taxpayers more than $100 million since 2018, according to the report.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), a labor union that represents more than 7,000 EPA workers, has called for the EPA to protect the flexible existing remote work policies as recently as April, according to its website. The union issued that particular demand about six months after President Joe Biden declared that “the pandemic is over” in September 2022.
The AFGE has also called for EPA to raise its headcount to 20,000 staffers from the more than 17,000 on the payroll for fiscal year 2024, according to Open The Books. The Trump administration had 13,686 EPA employees on the payroll in fiscal year 2019, according to the report.
Between the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), congress has approved approximately $100 billion in taxpayer dollars for the EPA to spend in the coming years, according to the report. The IRA did not provide any funds to the EPA to conduct oversight into its distribution of IRA funds, according to the report.
EPA Inspector General Sean O’Donnell said in April that “without adequate resources, not only have we been unable to do any meaningful IRA oversight, but we have also had to cancel or postpone work in important EPA areas, such as chemical safety and pollution cleanup,” according to the report.
The EPA did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
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