A top Environmental Protection Agency official submitted a letter of resignation Tuesday over the direction the agency is taking in the Trump administration.
“The environmental field is suffering from the temporary triumph of myth over truth,” wrote Elizabeth “Betsy” Southerland, who had been at the EPA for 30 years, and was director of science and technology in the agency’s Office of Water.
Southerland, who spoke fondly of the decades she worked in environmental protection, told the Washington Post she was “heartbroken about the impact of the new administration on environmental protection in this country.”
“There is no question,” she told the paper, “the administration is seriously weakening EPA’s mission by vigorously pursuing an industry deregulation approach and defunding implementation of environmental programs.”
She took issue with the president’s proposed budget cuts to the agency as well as the decision to repeal dozens of environmental regulations—especially Trump’s ‘two for one’ rule that for every new regulation added, two old ones must go.
An EPA spokesman pushed back on the timing of the letter of resignation, telling E&E news “it’s hard to believe that Elizabeth Southerland is retiring because of a budget proposal and not because she’s eligible for her government pension.”
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