EPA Union Statement on Today’s Oversight Hearing: “The Path Forward: Restoring the Vital Mission of the Environmental Protection Agency”

The House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce today is holding a hearing on the critical need to restore the vital mission of the Environmental Protection Agency.

In response, Gary Morton, President of AFGE Council 238 — EPA’s largest employees union — released the following statement:

“AFGE Council 238 commends E&C Chairman Pallone and Subcommittee Chair DeGette for convening today’s hearing on what must be done to rebuild the EPA so that the agency can fulfill its mission to protect human health and the environment.

“While EPA workers have great hope for the Biden administration, the fact is that the EPA was decimated after four years of nonstop attacks from the Trump administration. EPA workers were demeaned, science was ignored, vital environmental protections were rolled back and rigged in industry’s favor, and budgets were gutted.

“The Trump administration had zero regard for the EPA or its mission. Nonetheless, throughout the last four years, EPA workers continued to push for a better EPA, introducing the EPA Workers’ Bill of Rights. Workers stand by these principles today. Still, the damage that was done at EPA is extensive, and it will take a serious commitment from the Biden administration and the agency’s new leadership team to ensure EPA is built back better. That starts with listening to the EPA workers who have been through so much, and have so much expertise and knowledge left to give this agency.

“Between tackling climate change and pursuing environmental justice, there is no shortage of challenges facing our planet today. EPA workers have dedicated their careers to taking on these challenges, and will continue to do so. It is our hope that today’s hearing continues a productive dialogue towards an EPA where workers are fully supported to do their jobs and fully protected in the workplace.”