Pa. DEP hit hardest in layoffs

    More than 300 state workers are facing pink slips due to Pennsylvania’s ongoing budget problems. The Department of Environmental Protection is one of the departments taking the biggest hit.

    More than 300 state workers are facing pink slips due to Pennsylvania’s ongoing budget problems. The Department of Environmental Protection is one of the departments taking the biggest hit.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091117tmlayoffs.mp3]

    Among the cuts are 138 staffers from the Department of Environmental Protection. David Masur is Executive Director of the group Penn Environment. He says the cuts are an invitation for illegal polluters to continue to break the law.

    Masur: Polluters really run roughshod over our environmental laws. Many polluters violate their permits and if you cut the Department of Environmental Protection’s budget, it will inevitably make it more challenging to enforce our laws and make sure that illegal polluters are dealt with appropriately.

    The cuts will bring the state’s total staff layoffs to 769 since last month. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell says if the employees union had agreed to furloughs, the cuts wouldn’t have happened.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.