EPN In Action January-February 2020

Welcome to your EPN In Action newsletter

Over the past two months, EPN submitted two sets of formal comments on proposed rulemakings, provided oral testimony on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), submitted comments on a chemical draft risk evaluation, and circulated analyses and fact sheets about the FY2021 proposed presidential budget.

About the Environmental Protection Network

The Environmental Protection Network was launched in January 2017 to harness the expertise of former EPA career staff and confirmation-level appointees from multiple administrations to provide an informed and rigorous defense against efforts to undermine the protection of public health and the environment.


  • EPN created short and more comprehensive analyses of the FY2021 proposed presidential budget as well as several fact sheets on EPA’s core programs and programs at risk of elimination.

  • EPN testified on proposed implementation changes to NEPA. EPN also submitted formal comments on the inadequacies of the carbon tetrachloride draft risk evaluation.

  • EPN submitted comments on the proposed revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR). EPN also submitted comments on eliminating in-person public hearings on coal ash.

Volunteer and Staffing Updates:

  • We now have a robust database of 500 EPA alumni volunteering to help protect human health and the environment. 

  • EPN was featured in a New York Times article as a “smart donation” to make if you care about the environment.

  • Please welcome our new Associate, Jake Assael, who has been assisting with EPN’s communication and development work.

EPN’s Work on Budget

Analysis of the Trump Administration’s 2021 Budget Proposal

EPN produced an analysis of the Trump administration's proposed FY2021 budget, which slashed EPA's budget by 27% and continued efforts to dismantle the agency program by program and undermine our country's system of environmental protection.

FY2021 Budget Proposal Puts Important EPA Programs at Risk

EPN produced fact sheets on a number of EPA programs that were put at risk of being eliminated or severely underfunded in the administration's proposed FY2021 budget, which included virtually all voluntary climate programs, geographic and water programs, and special initiatives and grants.

FY21 Budget In The News

Toxic Superfund Cleanups Decline to More Than 30-Year Low

February 20, 2020 / by

Ellen Knickmeyer /


Betsy Southerland, EPN member and former Director, Office of Science and Technology, EPA Office of Water, was quoted in this article on the decline of completed toxic superfund cleanups.

Trump Is Trying to Eliminate EPA Programs, ‘Putting the Country and the Planet in Jeopardy,’ Expert Says

February 12, 2020 / by

Aristos Georgiou /


Mustafa Ali, EPN member and former EPA Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization, and Assistant Associate Administrator for Environmental Justice, was quoted and EPN was mentioned in this article regarding proposed cuts to EPA climate change programs in the FY2021 presidential budget.

Trump Sticks to Past Calls to Slash EPA Budget, DOE Research Spending

February 10, 2020 / by

Molly Christian and Zack Hale /

S&P Global Market Intelligence

EPN was mentioned in this article concerning the FY2021 presidential budget and the proposed cuts to EPA. 

EPN’s Work on NEPA & TSCA

EPN Submits Comments on EPA’s Draft Risk Evaluation of Carbon Tetrachloride

In response to EPA's request for public input on the draft risk evaluation of carbon tetrachloride, EPN submitted comments highlighting issues of concern with this chemical review. The comments also noted ongoing concerns about the flawed Toxic Substances Control Act systematic review process, which EPN urges EPA to discontinue.

NEPA & TSCA In The News

Trump’s Latest Rollback Would Ruin an ‘International Treasure’

January 9, 2019 / by

Yessenia Funes /


Cheryl Wasserman, EPN member and former Associate Director for Policy Analysis, Office of Federal Activities, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) at EPA, was quoted in this article on the Trump administration’s proposed rollbacks to the National Environmental Policy Act. 

EPN’s Work on Lead and Copper & Coal Ash

EPN Comments on Proposed Lead and Copper Rule Revisions

In response to EPA's proposed revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR), EPN submitted comments, noting that the proposed changes to the rule make it more complicated and less protective. EPN recommends EPA consider specific steps to ensure timely, comprehensive public health protection.

LCR & Coal Ash In The News

Revamped Lead Rule Ignores Concerns Raised in EPA Memo

February 25, 2020 / by

Ariel Wittenberg /

E&E News

Betsy Southerland, EPN member and former Director, Office of Science and Technology, EPA Office of Water, was quoted in this article concerning proposed changes to the Lead and Copper Rule and its effects on drinking water.

The EPA’s New Shameful Tactic: Avoid People Poisoned by Coal Ash

February 8, 2020 / by

Anita Desikan /

Common Dreams

Betsy Southerland, EPN member and former Director, Office of Science and Technology, EPA Office of Water was quoted in this article on the rolled back requirements for public hearings regarding federal rules.

More Examples of EPN in the News

In addition to the news articles above, EPN members contributed to a range of articles on topics such as the clean cars rule, Waters of the United States, and scientists leaving federal agencies.

‘We Knew They Had Cooked the Books’

February 12, 2020 / by

Robinson Meyer /

The Atlantic

Jeff Alson, EPN member and former Senior Engineer and Policy Advisor, EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality, was featured in this article pertaining to the scientific credibility of the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficiency Vehicles Rule. Jeff Alson was also quoted in a similar article by The New York Times.

Farm Local, but Protect Local Waters, Too

January 24, 2020 / by

Mark Ryan and Betsy Southerland /

Morning Consult

EPN members, Mark Ryan former EPA Regional Counsel, Region 10 and Betsy Southerland former Director, Office of Science and Technology, EPA Office of Water, co-wrote an op-ed regarding the proposed revisions to the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule proposed by the Trump administration.

Science Ranks Grow Thin in Trump Administration

January 23, 2020 / by

Annie Gowen, Juliet Eilperin, Ben Guarino and Andrew Ba Tran /

Washington Post

Dan Costa, EPN member and former National Program Director, EPA Air, Climate, and Energy Research Program was quoted in this article concerning the departure of scientists from federal agencies, including the EPA.

Read all recent EPN in the news items here