The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has cut nearly a $1 million program under the Obama administration that provided gym memberships for employees, with new administrator Scott Pruitt describing it an abuse of taxpayers’ money.
EPA spokesperson Jahan Wilox said: “We have ended taxpayer-funded fitness centers at EPA; a program that was costing American taxpayers $900,000 per year. Disinvestment in using federal funds for EPA fitness centers will allow the agency to invest this money in core activities to protect the environment.”
It was revealed earlier this year that the EPA was spending $15,000 on gym memberships in Las Vegas. EPA employees were charging their $399 gym memberships to taxpayers, even though they already have access to a “state-of-the-art” gym on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) campus.
The campus gym is nothing to scoff at as it boasts of such features as a relaxation room with massage chairs, fitness assessments, personal trainers for hire, a registered dietician, a spa and leisure pool, indoor jogging, and a “gender neutral bathroom.”
The EPA already started informing employee unions last week that it is stopping the fitness subsidies and fitness center funding. The said benefits will officially end on July 31, and no other additional funds for fitness centers will be given. And for facilities that already have gym equipment already paid for, the EPA will stop paying for the maintenance of the equipment and will not purchase any new equipment.
The Trump administration has proposed for its new budget a 31 percent cut to the EPA budget.