Environment and Public Works Committee Democrats, led by Sen. Tom Carper, sent a letter Sept. 14 to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt requesting information on EPA’s active reduction of its workforce to historic lows.

The senators cited concerns that adoption of the Donald Trump administration’s proposed fiscal 2018 cut of 25 percent to EPA’s workforce, combined with further White House direction to plan for additional longer term downsizing, would damage EPA’s ability to carry out its Congressionally-mandated mission to protect public health and the environment.

“According to media reports, EPA has already begun actively reducing [EPA’s] workforce by offering termed buyouts — for voluntary separation from the agency — and early-outs — for voluntary early retirement — to up to 1,227 employees. EPA’s Office of Research and Development could lose up to 183 people, the office handling contaminated superfund and other hazardous waste sites could lose up to 94 employees, the office handling chemical safety could lose 50 employees, and the enforcement office could lose up to 51 employees,” the senators wrote.

“To evaluate the impact of the ongoing and planned personnel cuts, we request information on EPA reorganizations, FTE ceilings and staffing levels, the specifics and impacts of ongoing buyouts and early-outs and the plans for further workforce reductions,” the senators wrote.

Carper was joined by Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island; Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon; Cory Booker, D-New Jersey; and Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois.

The text of the letter is available at bit.ly/2y1BLXQ.