GOP member wants 15 percent cut in EPA staff

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) is planning to write legislation that would cut the Environmental Protection Agency's staff by 15 percent.

Griffith told a local paper in southwest Virginia that his motivation for the bill was the decision to list nearly 94 percent of all EPA staff as "nonessential" during the government shutdown in early October.

"If that is the case, they should be able to cut 15 percent," he said.

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Griffith acknowledged that his proposal has little chance of passing through Congress, mostly due to opposition from Senate Democrats. But he said he would try nonetheless.

"I don't want to mislead anyone. I don't think it will pass in the Senate and maybe not the House, but we are going to ask for their staff to be cut by 15 percent," he said.

The bill would easily pass if called up in the House, where GOP leaders have routinely passed bills limiting the EPA's regulatory reach. Back in August, the House approved legislation requiring the EPA to assess the economic impact of its regulations before issuing them.

Next week, the House also plans to pass legislation that would block an EPA rule requiring fire hydrants to be lead-free. The EPA has said fire hydrants are sometimes used to provide drinking water, and that they must be lead-free.

But supporters of the bipartisan Community Fire Safety Act, H.R. 3588, say the EPA rule would slow down the installation of fire hydrants when it takes effect next year, and is a fire and safety hazard.

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