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EPA staff says timing of US cuts is illegal

Reagan administration moves to prune a Washington bureaucracy faster than scheduled is getting somestiff opposition from employees and others concerned with enforcing pollution laws.

A ''Save EPA'' group claims that by June, 80 percent of the civil service staff at Environmental Protection Agency headquarters will have quit, been fired , or demoted as a result of Reagan administration policies.

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EPA assistant administrator John Horton confirmed that the planned reorganization would reduce the number of permanent employees below the level required by the 1982 budget, according to the New York Times.

According to Save EPA, however, it is illegal to fire civil servants in 1982 to accommodate a 1983 budget not yet submitted to Congress. The group also says that enforcing environmental protection laws will be difficult with such a small staff.

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