The data fits with the experiences of Tim Whitehouse, a former senior attorney at the EPA who helped enforce water pollution laws in the 1990s and early 2000s. During his tenure, Whitehouse said, he felt the agency was supported by Congress, which provided higher funding and more meaningful oversight, not only to the EPA but the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“There was a sense we were moving in the right direction to protect water quality and protect some of the most valuable wetlands in the country,” Whitehouse said.
An executive director of the nonprofit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Whitehouse said there has been a “complete breakdown” in bipartisan support for the EPA. That has manifested in lower funding and staffing and more hostility in Congress and from some state environmental agencies.