Contact: Peter Jenkins, firstname.lastname@example.org
Former EPA Children’s Health chief has whistleblower hearing next week – September 13 through 15
Who: The expert whom the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recruited in 2015 to enhance protection of children’s health has a whistleblower hearing next week seeking to get her job back. The Trump Administration removed Dr. Ruth Etzel as Director of its Office of Children’s Health Protection in 2019 after she repeatedly spoke out about EPA’s failure to protect children’s health from lead and other environmental pollutants. She will be represented by attorneys with the whistleblower protection group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
What: Dr. Etzel filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB is the federal civil service court) contending that her demotion and reassignment in 2019 were illegal retaliation for speaking out for stronger lead protections. An MSPB judge has already ruled that her claims are covered by the federal Whistleblower Protection Act. More than a dozen witnesses are expected to testify, including several former high Trump EPA officials
When: Her hearing, via Zoom for Government, will be September 13-15. Any member of the media who desires to participate via Zoom needs to be pre-approved by the MSPB administrative judge and should contact PEER directly no later than COB Wednesday, September 8.
More: Dr. Etzel, both a pediatrician and an epidemiologist, is an internationally recognized expert on child health and the environment. Frequently recognized as a leading ambassador for children’s health, just last month the Academic Pediatric Association named her as the 2021 recipient of the prestigious Public Policy and Advocacy Award. Yet, in her current “dead end” EPA assignment she is a biologist in EPA’s Office of Water, where she has no contact with children’s health and is not allowed to work on prevention of lead poisoning.