Fewer Scientists Employed by EPA in 2017

In December 2017, the New York Times reported that, out of 700 employees who left the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2017, over 200 (twenty-seven percent) were scientists. According to the report, the scientists have either “quit, retired, or taken a buyout package.”

Those leaving include thirty-four biologists and microbiologists, nineteen chemists, eighty-one environmental engineers and environmental scientists; and more than a dozen toxicologists, life scientists, and geologists. Few of these scientists have been replaced. According to the New York Times report, of the 129 people hired by EPA in 2017, only seven (five percent) were scientists.


On August 14, 2018, the Union of Concerned Scientists published a report detailing the results of a survey of EPA and other government scientists. According to the report, over 90 percent of EPA scientists surveyed reported “workforce reductions due to hiring freezes, departures, or retirements,” and 80 percent of those scientists felt that the “reductions have made it difficult for the EPA to fulfill its science-based mission.”

On January 23, 2020, the Washington Post reported that nearly 700 scientists left EPA in the first three years of the Trump administration. According to the report, only 350 replacements have been hired.