The Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of expanding its security fleet for Administrator Scott Pruitt with the hiring of an additional 12 officers, which moves the total number of agents guarding Pruitt to 30, CNN reported Monday.
The move will cost the department an additional $2 million a year, not including training, equipment or travel, according to CNN. No previous EPA chief has received this level of around-the-clock protection, the department’s inspector general told CNN, but Pruitt has reportedly received more death threats than any of his predecessors.
The IG office has investigated 70-plus threats against the EPA chief since he came into office.
“The EPA is a lightning rod. We get threats from both sides of the spectrum,” assistant inspector general Patrick Sullivan told CNN. “Some people believe the EPA is not doing enough to enforce environmental laws, and they’re upset about that. Other people think the EPA is doing too much, vis-à-vis enforcing environmental laws and they’re upset about that.”
Pruitt already had an unprecedented number of security officers before CNN learned of the new hires. The department reportedly had to pull officers who typically investigate environmental crimes to his security detail.
The latest security spending increase comes as the agency has announced plans to cut its budget by 30 percent. Like several other members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet, Pruitt’s spending on travel has recently come under scrutiny as well because of his frequent trips back home to Oklahoma and his use of charter planes for official travel.
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