Watchdog warns declining budget shorts EPA oversight

By Kevin Bogardus | 05/30/2024 01:16 PM EDT

The inspector general said that with less funding and fewer staffers, his office is struggling to keep watch over the agency.

EPA Inspector General Sean O'Donnell.

EPA Inspector General Sean O'Donnell at agency headquarters Feb. 4, 2020. Francis Chung/E&E News

EPA’s internal watchdog raised the alarm over the danger of fraud and waste as the agency receives billions in taxpayer dollars while his office makes due with a limited budget.

Inspector General Sean O’Donnell outlined his concerns in his office’s latest semiannual report, which was released Wednesday.

EPA will get an influx of more than $100 billion under President Joe Biden’s signature climate and infrastructure laws in the coming years, expanding the agency’s workload and staff, but the watchdog office is struggling to keep up. That’s compounded by the Inflation Reduction Act that slates zero funding to the inspector general for oversight, unlike the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which gave nearly $270 million.


“The potentially dire consequences of the lack of IRA oversight cannot be overstated,” O’Donnell said in a message to Congress accompanying the report.