EPA Loses Over 90 Percent of Staff, But Committed to Communities

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 EPA chief Gina McCarthy warned last week that if the government closed it would mean that her agency “effectively shuts down.”

“The vast majority of people at EPA will not be working,” said McCarthy at an event sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor newspaper, as reported in The HIll.

She wasn’t kidding. Of the 16,205 employees at EPA, less than a 1,000 are expected to go to work under the shutdown, according to their contingency plan. For “excepted” activities EPA must perform to ensure the safety of human life and protection of property, only 613 employees, or 3.85 percent of their total capacity, will remain on board. For “exempt” staff — those engaged in military, law enforcement or health care activities, or those paid by a source other than congressional annual appropriations — only 296, or 1.83 percent of the employees will remain on board.

If a hurricane happened to strike — We’re just a little past the halfway point of hurricane season, which ends November 30 — EPA does retain staff that could respond by helping contain oil spills, hazardous waste disposal and other needed monitoring. They will continue legal counseling and litigation for certain high profile cases, the BP oil spill civil trial for example. Read more here.