The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed Friday that it has begun reassigning climate change staff within the agency, while criticizing media outlets for making it out to be much worse than it is.
On Friday, BNA Bloomberg reported that more than 40 EPA employees were being reassigned, including climate policy staff. But an EPA spokesman confirmed to the Washington Examiner that the real number was three employees.
The agency at press time was calling for corrections from both Politico and Bloomberg for reporting numbers ranging from four to 40 employees.
An EPA insider privy to the restructuring effort said the incorrect reporting "is just a classic example of liberal hysteria over an office or a program being named something, and then just assuming that if it no longer exists, or if it moves .. it means we are no longer doing something."
The spokesman emphasized that the three employees are being reassigned to other duties, not being fired, as the agency begins to implement President Trump's budget blueprint.
The budget blueprint calls for eliminating 3,200 employees at the agency, but Friday's news does not correspond to that broader cut, according to the EPA insider. The agency employs about 15,000 employees.
"This is about the agency re-allocating resources to comply with the president's budget blueprint, streamlining things, making things more efficient and reducing redundancies," the spokesman said.
The spokesman added that many of the items that the climate policy staff were advising on, the regional offices "already know how to do" without input from Washington.
The EPA has a number of regional offices around the country that respond directly to environmental challenges related to climate change adaptation in the states.
Climate adaptation refers to making improvements to infrastructure in response to increased flooding and coastal erosion, which many scientists say are increasing because of global warming.