The agency’s funding has remained stagnant since his inauguration. Its work is hamstrung by low staffing levels not seen since Ronald Reagan left office.
The lack of resources and workers has undercut its ability to inspect facilities, measure contamination, punish violators and write new rules to stem pollution and climate change at a time when scientists say the world needs to act faster to stop runaway global warming.
At the beginning of his term, Biden asked Congress for a big boost to the EPA’s budget, from $9.2 billion to $11.2 billion. But the agency ended up getting only a fifth of that additional $2 billion requested by Biden, an increase that does not keep pace with the rapid rate of inflation.
That means the EPA actually has less spending power since Democrats took full control of the executive and legislative branches, even as its responsibilities grow. The budgetary slide continues a trend that deepened under Donald Trump but that began well before he took office.