The Environmental Protection Agency is struggling to meet the needs of its agencies, according to a new report from the group Next Big 2020.
It said that despite the EPA’s success in meeting the goals of the Clean Power Plan, the agency is not keeping up with its own growth.
“The growth in the EPA is accelerating at an alarming rate,” said Matt Hodge, director of the Future of Government Institute at George Mason University, in a press release.
In the last year, the EPA added almost 600,000 employees, the first time since 2001 that the agency has more than doubled its workforce since then.
But with only 40 percent of those hires coming from outside the agency, the report said, it is struggling with growing administrative and legal workloads.
This means that “the EPA’s resources are not being allocated to the tasks of keeping pace with the rapidly changing environment, and its overall performance is falling behind,” the report states.
While the EPA has invested heavily in technology and technology-based approaches to the future, it lacks adequate management of its existing regulatory systems, the researchers wrote.
The EPA is struggling even with its largest program, the Green Climate Fund, which seeks to address climate change.
To meet the 2020 goal of reducing emissions by 30 percent, the fund has spent more than $2.5 billion on climate-related research.
But the agency does not have the resources to fund all the research needed, and some of that research is not even done yet, according the report.
Hodge, who chaired the EPA in its first six months of existence, said that the budget of the agency “is not sufficient to keep pace with its growth,” according to the report, and that “this has become an institutional problem.”
The EPA has not taken steps to address the agency’s “toxic legacy,” the researchers said, and “is taking steps to mitigate these impacts.”
The agency is also struggling with a culture of secrecy and unaccountability.
EPA employees often don’t know how much they are paid or receive bonuses, the Next Big report found.
The agency has not fully disclosed its financial data to Congress or to the public.
The report found that the EPA spends far more on executive compensation than on administrative expenses, and more than two-thirds of EPA employees earn more than the minimum wage.
EPA leadership has failed to “account for the substantial benefits that federal workers enjoy in the workplace,” the study found.
And while the EPA reported a “tremendous amount” of spending on science and research last year alone, the next Big 2020 report said it has “only been able to pay out a fraction of its planned costs.”
It also found that “EPA’s budget has not kept pace with rising costs for other government agencies and for other sectors, which are more heavily burdened by pollution and climate change.”
The report called on the EPA to take the following steps: Adopt policies and practices that encourage greater accountability, transparency, and transparency for executive and other agency staff; Implement an institutional review board that provides independent oversight and oversight of EPA’s budget, policies, and other actions; Create and implement a governance system that promotes transparency and accountability at EPA; Expand its work to include environmental issues that affect the most vulnerable populations; Ensure that its research and development budget is used to address global environmental challenges.