The new USEPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, is expected to request an around-the-clock security detail from the USEPA, according to an internal USEPA e-mail. This security request is in addition to the security staffing already provided by the USEPA. The USEPA's existing Protection Services Detail (PSD) is a small staff (usually six-to-eight people) charged with protecting the USEPA administrator (providing door-to-door services, including agents providing transportation to and from work and any travel to events during the workday or on international business trips). When the USEPA administrator travels domestically, USEPA CID special agents from the local Region's criminal enforcement office are asked to pitch in and help out. The PSD does not currently have enough people to provide the around-the-clock security detail.
So where would the around-the-clock security detail come from? While security has increased dramatically since September 11, 2001, this level of security for the USEPA Administrator is unprecedented. It is unclear specifically what Pruitt will actually request for his protection; the USEPA has declined to comment on its security procedures. One possibility is that the USEPA PSD will hire more staff. In the interim, however, USEPA CID agents will be "volunteered" to provide the additional security. This will, of course, impact the USEPA CID's ability to investigate environmental crimes and will sap already limited resources. CID that has struggled in recent years and agent numbers have dropped from 213 in December 2010 to around 162 today. The USEPA is required by law (by the Pollution Prosecution Act of 1990) to have at least 200 federal law enforcement agents to investigate and enforce the environmental criminal laws. That requirement was not considered by the last administration when implementing budget cuts across the Agency.
There may be "legitimate and valid threats" supporting an increase in security for Pruitt. Protests on the increase as many have viewed the Pruitt nomination as controversial.
The use of the USEPA CID for the twenty-four/seven protection may be cost-effective for the very short term; however, if Pruitt wants twenty-four/seven security, he should submit a budget to the White House for approval for the staffing increase for the PSD and allow the USEPA CID special agents to do the jobs that Congress has mandated. The use of the CID Special Agents as body guards is a misuse of their training and talents and hampers their ability to work environmental crimes cases (and thus to protect our environment).
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