President Biden’s ambitious plans to combat climate change and environmental injustice will require a robust EPA, which is in crisis after four years of “an all-out assault” by the Trump administration, Buzzfeed reports. Elizabeth Southerland, EPA’s former water chief, explained that the assault was aimed not just at climate change — once an agency priority — but at EPA’s core mission of protecting human health and the environment across a broad range of issues and statutes. That institutional damage will not be repaired overnight. Over the past four years, 816 employees left the EPA, and trust and morale among those who remain is also a major issue.
“There’s not a lot of trust in the middle management group that has colluded with the old administration,” Nicole Cantello, an EPA lawyer and union leader in Chicago, told BuzzFeed News. “I think that a real issue [is whether] or not the Biden administration is going to be able to break through this group of folks who implemented the Trump administration’s agenda pretty successfully and muzzled the rank and file.” (Buzzfeed)