Giving Compass' Take:

· According to new research from The Conversation, the Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump administration has weakened dramatically and risks failing in its role to protect public health and the environment from threats such as climate change and pollution.

· How can we support the Environmental Protection Agency? How has the EPA weakened under the Trump administration?

· Learn more about the Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump administration

The Trump administration has sought to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency in a number of ways, from staff and proposed budget cuts to attempts to undermine the use of science in policymaking.

Now, our new research finds that one of the EPA’s most important functions – enforcement – has also fallen off dramatically.

Since its founding, the EPA has been the nation’s environmental enforcer of last resort. Enforcing environmental laws is a fundamental role of the EPA. William Ruckelshaus, the agency’s first administrator, famously described its role in environmental enforcement as that of a “gorilla in the closet” – muscular, dexterous, smart and formidable – not omnipresent, but ready to take decisive action to enforce laws if need be.

But the data we have collected show that EPA enforcement under Trump is more accurately characterized as sheep-like – meek and mild, often following the lead of regulated industry rather than acting as an independent, scientifically and statutorily driven regulator. The report is based on interviews with EPA staff and recent retirees and analysis of the EPA’s own data and internal documents. In this article we’ve also used recently updated data and included an expanded analysis of regional and statutory declines.

Read the full article about the Environmental Protection Agency by Sarah Lamdan, Marianne Sullivan, Chris Sellers, and Leif Fredrickson at The Conversation.