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Recognizing EPA’s Extraordinary Team of Public Servants

2013 May 8

By Bob Perciasepe, Acting Administrator

This week is Public Service Recognition week, and as acting administrator at EPA, I wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge the extraordinary public servants I work alongside every day. Public service is a high calling. I know how keenly aware my colleagues are of the service they provide every day to our country. They are answering the call to duty and heeding the words of President Kennedy, “Ask what you can do for your country.”

Thanks to the hard work of the men and women who serve at EPA, the Agency has helped cut pollution and improve health benefits at a record level, while delivering more assistance and making more investments to help businesses and state and local governments meet health standards. In the 43 years since the EPA opened its doors, the American population has grown by more than 50 percent. During the same time frame, we have cut harmful air pollution by more than half. And as our country’s air, water and land have become cleaner, we have also seen our national gross domestic product (GDP) grow more than 200 percent since 1970.

We’ve developed and supported the most efficient and effective environmental enforcement programs in our history. We’ve advanced our science and our approaches to testing chemicals – and met challenges like Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Sandy and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill by helping to keep those regions clean and the people there safe and healthy. We’ve expanded our partnerships with local communities and tribal nations, and consequently, we’ve been able to target our resources more effectively to address the most pressing environmental problems they face. And we’ve doubled down on our own commitment to sustainability by dramatically cutting the Agency’s overall energy use, reducing our water use, and slashing greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 80 percent. That’s the equivalent of taking 21,700 cars off the road or planting more than 2.7 million trees.

EPA employees have also found innovative and unprecedented ways to address the complex environmental challenges – and tight budgets – Americans face today. For example, in 2011, EPA announced a new water technology innovation cluster in Cincinnati, a public/private partnership to develop and commercialize technologies to solve water quality challenges, encourage sustainable economic development and create jobs. Last year EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance announced the public release of an online mapping tool called NEPAssist to help make federal agencies conduct environmental reviews and project planning more efficiently and more effectively. And just recently EPA launched the Green Button on our Home Energy Yardstick. Now American homeowners can measure – and improve – their home’s energy efficiency using this free online energy-assessment tool.

This is exciting work, and you don’t have to take my word for it: Last week the Partnership for Public Service ranked EPA as third in innovation among large federal agencies, according to a survey they conducted of federal employees. In the many ways they contribute to EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment, my colleagues are remarkable public servants. I’m proud to work with them, and this week, to celebrate them.

About the author: Bob Perciasepe is Acting Administrator of the U.S. EPA.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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12 Responses leave one →
  1. Legion permalink
    May 8, 2013

    we don’t feel appreciated when we are still being furloughed when job postings are being opened for managers. What happened to the hiring freeze? If we have money, let us do our jobs!

  2. May 8, 2013

    Thanks for the post. There is a recent great blog about NEPAssist at EPA Region 7’s blog the Big Blue Thread.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    May 8, 2013

    It’s always nice to be recognized, but this gives me some cognitive dissonance. First we are furloughed, and then we are told that we are extraordinary workers. The furlough sends a strong and unflattering message to the public regarding the usefulness of EPA employees. Thank you for the compliment though. We can use whatever praise we can get.

  4. Ruben B. Aridge permalink
    May 8, 2013

    Altough i’ve only been a part of the U.S.EPA for ahort time, the sense of family and well being has never been so strong within me.I feel as though i have finaly found a place in this world, that truly makes that world a better place. Being am a former soldier,next to the expierences of a military lifestyle, i have never encountered a more diciplined and focused group of people ! I sulute you all and wish to express my gratitude for the weel wishes and responsibilities that you have bestowed upon me ! I pray to GOD, that i we’ll always be able to perform my duties to the uppper most level of professional committment.

    Your’s Most Respectively,

    Ruben B. Aridge – LCD/MMB

  5. Frank Blue permalink
    May 8, 2013

    We as Public Servants knows what we have done/do to make the United State and the World a better place to live work and play.
    Persons out side of the Federal Government I wish they could really understand what we do as Public Servants . We do not just sit on our butts and draw a pay check. I am tired of hearing the Government is the Enemy of the American People put a sock in it/ or on it.I am proud of what we do. Sequestration and Furloughs is not the Answer.

  6. Master Melvin M. Lusterio permalink
    May 9, 2013

    The Good Force be with you!

    Excellent work, Admin Bob & Team! Keep it up!

    Live forever and prosper!

  7. Short Timer permalink
    May 9, 2013

    Legion Notes:
    . we don’t feel appreciated when we are still being furloughed when job postings are being opened for managers….
    Might I add that some of these are SES poisitions!

    The Acting Adminiostrator’s message reminds me of Nixon saying: “don’t listen to what I say, watch what I do”

  8. Anon permalink
    May 10, 2013

    This rings very hollow. While other agencies started reducing their workforce more than a year ago through attrition and encouraged managers to return unspent funds at year end, EPA put its head in the sand and did nothing proactive. The furloughs are very much self-inflicted. I have never seen morale so low, innovation stifled, and a culture of fear that is now being propagated. We have seen a major failure in leadership at this wonderful agency. Our senior leaders should be visiting EPA employees throughout the country talking about what EPA is doing now to avoid additional furloughs and impacts to our mission and employees in out-years instead of writing blog posts.

  9. kevin g permalink
    May 10, 2013

    Thanks for the kind words Mr. Perciasepe, but….. would you advise at to the status at the Office of the EPA Administrator level to return to Congress (as numerous other federal agencies have successfully done) to request permission to reallocate EPA discretionary funds via Interchange Transfer Authority to prevent the need for additional employee furlough days during implementation of Phase 2 of the sequestration?

  10. wade permalink
    May 13, 2013

    I get the “jitters” when I hear the word “public servants” used for many gov’t employees. Would that we, the working group, in the outside world get the pay and benefits afforded to gov’t workers which given the truth are there primerely for just that – earn a good living. Possibly those that work in the factories and on the farms to provide us with food, shelter and clothing are the true public servants.

  11. Julian permalink
    May 14, 2013

    Wade, It seems you have an Axe to grind with government workers. You like every other “working group” in the outside have the choice to apply for a government job. We all have choices to move and improve our quality of life. Public servants, also known as civil servants in some countries, are employed (indirectly or directly) by the government in what is known as the public sector. Taxpayers and public funds partially or fully fund their wages, which is why they are known as servants of the public. While Farmers and those who work the factories provide us with great service that are also providing a service to the public. Instead of blaming others, do something about it and improve your life and attitude so you can live in a more cheerful environment. Generating a good attitude, a good heart as much as possible is important. From this happiness in both the short and long term for both your self and others.

  12. wade permalink
    May 20, 2013

    Julian – You could not be further from the truth. As an environmental engineer I have had the opportunity to work with environmental agencies in SC, GA, Tenn, Texas, Mexico. I was in charge of industrial wastewater treatment plants or pretreat programs in each of these locations. In addition I have designed wastewater treatment plants in Pakistan, Argentina, Mexico and Venezuela. I am blessed with a wonderful, beautiful wife of 54 years, 2 marvelous daughters (all college grads) and 3 grandboys of which 2 are college grads and the 3rd enters college this fall. However, thru out all my career I have always had a heart for the “working people” and I owe all to my Savior, Jesus Christ.

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