By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearWire

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a straightforward mission “to protect human health and the environment – today and every day.” Yet its scope — and budget — keep increasing, costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

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A new oversight report from OpenTheBooks found that the agency has strayed from its founding in 1970, when it focused on matters like regulating toxic chemicals, environmental contaminants in air or water, what constitutes an environmental hazard, and what tools a government agency can use to enforce its undergirding principles.

“With over 15,000 staffers as of fiscal year 2022, the agency has law enforcement, homeland security, and legal teams working to enforce and develop environmental policies,” the report states. “In the past two years alone, Congress has appropriated the agency over $100 billion, much of it intended to bolster the agency’s decades-long vision of bringing about ‘environmental justice’.”

Related: EPA Announces $400 Million for ‘Clean’ Buses in $5 Billion Plan to Transform School Fleets

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Last year, the average salary was $124,252, with the pay for all 15,043 employees totaling $1.9 billion. The EPA’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2024 asks for over 17,000 full-time equivalent staff.

The EPA now does so much more than protect water sources and clean up toxic waste sites. It has a law enforcement arm responsible for bringing environmental criminals to justice, and employs 137 special agents who have firearms and can arrest people.

Between 2018 and 2022, the EPA spent $618,602 on guns, ammunition, and military style equipment, including body armor, optical sights, night vision equipment, security vehicles, and tactical sets, kits, and outfits.

The 1,000-plus attorneys on its legal team make it large enough to rank as one of the largest law firms in the country.

The EPA’s own inspector general said in a Congressional hearing that the agency had so much new funding that it could not be properly audited. Taxpayers should be concerned both with the size and scope of a federal agency and with its spending habits.

Read Next: Report: Biden’s Energy Plan Costs Jobs, Ratepayers

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Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.

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