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Welcome Back!

2013 October 17
Gina McCarthy

October 17, 2013
3:42 pm EDT

USEPA Photo by Eric Vance. Public domain image

Earlier this morning, Bob and I were honored to join Vice President Biden in personally welcoming back to work our fellow, dedicated public servants. The Vice President brought muffins, shared hugs, and listened to the stories of so many folks who are excited to be back on the job serving our country.

Over the past few weeks during the government shutdown, I heard those stories too.  I had the chance to call a handful of our great staff who were managing to keep their spirits up, but also anxious for this day to come.  From almost every program and region, I heard from courageous single parents whose families depend on their paycheck and young people retaining their belief in public service. I also spoke to furloughed employees who volunteered in their communities, in food banks and shelters, still finding a way to give back. 


These are the dedicated people that make up this Agency—and I couldn’t more proud in the way they handled themselves in this very difficult time for our country. During the government shutdown, 94% of EPA staff was unable to do the important work that Americans depend on for a clean and healthy environment.  Our scientists and inspectors were prevented from keeping our air and water safe to breathe and drink. Vehicle certifications couldn’t be completed, industrial chemicals and pesticides couldn’t be evaluated, and hazardous waste sites couldn’t be cleaned. Small business couldn’t receive our assistance in learning about grants and loans to continue building our clean energy economy.  And on a personal level, our employees and their families made tremendous sacrifices just to get by.

The past couple of weeks have been tough for our country and our economy. But now we can get back to work on behalf of the American people and reaffirm their trust in the vital work that our Agency does each day. I’m certainly looking forward to it, and I know the world-class staff at EPA is looking forward to it too.

That’s why I echo what President Obama said today at the White House in speaking about public servants across the federal government: Thank you for your service. What you do is important. It matters.


And even though Vice President Biden won’t be delivering muffins to EPA each morning—the enthusiasm our employees showed him makes me so proud to welcome back the incredible EPA team as we continue pushing forward on the important work ahead.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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4 Responses leave one →
  1. vi prasad permalink
    October 17, 2013

    Muffins!!!!! Go Mr. Biden. Glad that everyone is back to work. God bless America.

  2. Tom Spalding permalink
    October 22, 2013

    Can you speak to the use of Biochar? I want to find, buy or make this material for my garden. Does biochar really sequester carbon? Can we see it used in 3rd world nations in exchange for foreign aid? What I see in Haiti is that they already make a great deal of charcoal in terms of tGDP.

  3. W. Glen Bateman permalink
    October 22, 2013

    Ms. McCarthy,
    Today through the Sierra Club I sent you a personalized letter. Main Idea: I dislike the fact that the EPA is not considered ESSENTIAL enough to continue funded through a shut-down! I LOVE my Pinellas and started a page(today!) called SLAP sea level awareness program, to provide a link for my neighbors here(me=3rd gen.native/outdoorsman/father/tree-biz accident survivor/BIOLOGY STUDENT)
    to learn of the sea level(events by TBEP,IFAS,SWFMD) situation and talk about it until we ALL know WHAT IS KNOWN by experts…observations/support/negation etc…..many of us know the water well w/ sea on three sides{Pinellas}! INFORMED VOTERS is an objective. I volunteer when I can and aspire to work for the EPA or any aspect of protection/conservation/public education….. huh- I would’ve camped in the field, continued with my measuring and observing and turned in my samples when it was over! (if allowed!). YOUR DEPT is VITAL(many have NO IDEA!!)….I wanna be part of your team ! Glen – hope to meet you someday!

    • W. Glen Bateman permalink
      October 22, 2013

      Please do what you can to keep STRICT EMISSIONS Std.s for energy suppliers and ALL!!
      (merge onto prev. comment?)

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