“EPA’s Biggest Union Pushes Back Against Reopening Plans”

“The EPA’s biggest union is pushing back against the agency’s plans to start the process that could lead to reopening some of its offices.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler told staff in an email last week that the EPA decided to take steps to soon reopen three of its 10 regional offices in Atlanta, Seattle, and Lenexa, Kansas. That decision was based on local data about coronavirus infection rates and conditions, and the agency will proceed carefully as more data is reviewed, Wheeler said.

No precise date for reopening was announced. But Wheeler said he had decided to start the process to “initiate the opening” based in part on data and the actions of states and local governments in the three regions.

But the American Federation of Government Employees, in a response letter to Wheeler, wrote that no data exists to suggest it’s safe to reopen, and that the union hasn’t been invited to participate in the reopening talks.”

Stephen Lee reports for Bloomberg Environment May 26, 2020.