EPA to set aside $12 million for buyouts in coming months

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency plans to set aside $12 million for buyouts and early retirements in coming months, as part of an effort to begin “reshaping” the agency’s workforce under the Trump administration.

In a memo, the EPA’s acting chief financial officer, David Bloom, said the move is how the agency plans to spend part of roughly $24 million in “carry-over funds” – essentially, money that was not spent in the previous fiscal year and is rolled over to the current one.

Beyond the looming buyouts, the memo details $800,000 allocated for travel expenses for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s security detail, $1.4 million for cloud-computing services and other data storage, and $2 million for consolidating the agency’s physical footprint.

“Senior leadership made decisions to allocate the carry-over funds set aside earlier this year to address agency’s priorities for incentive payments for workforce reshaping, support for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance (OGC), travel for the Administrator’s protective detail, rent, continued space reduction efforts, eDiscovery, agency cloud services and the OGC’s workforce support,” Bloom wrote Wednesday.

The EPA did not immediately respond Thursday to a request for comment. However, the Trump administration’s push to shrink the agency’s staffing comes as no surprise. An initial White House budget for fiscal 2018 slashed its…

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