A Sheep in the Closet: The Erosion of Enforcement at the EPA

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[Note: We are currently updating the enforcement numbers in this report.]

This report examines environmental enforcement at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nearly two years into the Trump administration.  Based on extensive interviewing with EPA employees and recent retirees as well as in-depth wide-ranging research into EPA data and documents as well as news coverage, we conclude that the EPA is no longer so capable of fulfilling its mission to ensure competent enforcement of federal environmental laws. In place of that “gorilla in the closet” role characterized by its first administrator, William Ruckelshaus, it has become more of a sheep in the closet. The EPA’s retreat, which shows little sign of stopping, has all but ensured significant deterioration of our nation’s public health and environment in the years ahead.



Author(s): Leif Fredrickson, Marianne Sullivan, Christopher Sellers, Jennifer Ohayon, Ellen Kohl, Sarah Lamdan, Alissa Cordner, Alice Hu, Katarzyna Kaczowka, Natalia Navas, Linda Wicks, EDGI
Publication Date: November 14, 2018