A total of more than 700 EPA employees have either quit, retired, or accepted buyout offers from this January, the beginning of the current administration, to the end of this September. Among them are more than 200 scientists and almost 100 specialists in environmental protection.
Some of these scientists explain their departure:
Ronnie B. Levin spent 37 years at the E.P.A. researching policies to address lead exposure from paint, gasoline and drinking water, most recently working as a lead inspector at the agency’s regional office overseeing New England. She retired in November after what she described as months of low morale at the agency. And with the lead enforcement office targeted for elimination as part of Mr. Trump’s proposed budget, she said, “It was hard to get your enthusiasm up” for the job.
“This is exactly what they wanted, which is my biggest misgiving about leaving,” Ms. Levin said. “They want the people there to be more docile and nervous and less invested in the agency.”
Lynda Deschambault, a chemist and physical scientist who left the E.P.A. at the end of August after 26 years, said her office in Region 9, based in San Francisco, had been hollowed out. The office saw 21 departures this year and no hires. “The office was a morgue,” she said.