Trump’s EPA Budget Requests Added Protections—For Scott Pruitt
The Trump administration has requested sweeping budget cuts for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), though it has asked Congress to beef up protection for at least one part of it.
A new EPA budget proposal, obtained by the Washington Post, calls for 10 new full-time security personnel to staff a round-the-clock detail for EPA administrator Scott Pruitt—an unprecedented level of protection for his position.
The Post reports that the proposed budget would slash some 30% of the agency’s funds, affecting dozens of programs and thousands of employees. Among the programs likely to be refunded are climate-change research and environmental cleanup efforts.
According to the Post, it isn’t clear whether Pruitt himself requested the added security. A leader of Trump’s EPA transition team, Myron Ebell, said earlier this year, however, that it could be a wise move given the resistance to Pruitt, even from within his own agency.
Speaking with environmental news site E&E in February, Ebell said protecting Pruitt would be “prudent given the continuing activities by the left to foment hatred, and the reported hostility within the agency from some unprofessional activists.”
For more on Scott Pruitt, watch Fortune’s video:
Since his nomination in December, Pruitt has faced unprecedented opposition for someone seeking the role of the national environmental caretaker. While he said during his confirmation hearings that he, unlike the position offered by Trump, does not believe that climate change is a “hoax,” he would not concede that global environmental change was caused by humans.
He has also been criticized for suing the very agency he sought to lead more than a dozen times during his former role as Attorney General of oil-producer Oklahoma. His legal attacks prompted nearly 800 EPA employees to urge Senate members to block his confirmation, arguing that he had “shown no interest” in enforcing the environmental laws and principles that underpin the agency’s purpose.