On the heels of the Department of Justice deeming New York City and two other U.S. locations “anarchist jurisdictions,” Environmental Protections Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler is threatening to pull its offices out of Lower Manhattan over concerns about the safety of its employees.
“If you cannot demonstrate that EPA employees will be safe accessing our City offices, then I will begin the process of looking for a new location for our headquarters outside of the City that can maintain order,” Wheeler wrote in a blistering letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The EPA administrator blasted the Democrats for failing to act during the July “Occupy City Hall” protests that not only made the building inaccessible to employees but damaged the office and other buildings.
“I have an obligation to our employees and if the City is unwilling or incapable of doing its job, I will do mine and move them to a location that can competently fulfill the basic mission of a local government,” he continued.
Wheeler also cited an anti-ICE protest last week in which he was told by law enforcement that intelligence showed anarchists wanted to recreate a Portland-like atmosphere, which would've targeted their work location.
“The demonstrators engaged in unwarranted, violent activity at the facility, breaking windows and defacing/destroying government property,” Wheeler wrote.
“In the extreme, protestors smashed a turnstile door and forcefully entered the lobby of 26 Federal Plaza,” he said of the neighboring buildings that house the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.
The violent anti-ICE protest comes just months after a large anti-cop encampment in City Hall Park was allowed to swell in June and July as hundreds of protesters demanded a $1 billion cut to the NYPD budget in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
De Blasio said the protesters were welcome to stay in the park even as they covered municipal buildings with anti-cop graffiti, looted surrounding businesses, engaged in tense standoffs with police, and assaulted a New York Post reporter.
Under political pressure, Hizzoner finally ordered police in riot gear to bust up the camp in late July, leaving the cash-strapped MTA with a $17,000 cleanup bill after protesters turned subway vents into makeshift latrines. (NY Post)
“Public safety is a core mission of state and local governments and your failure to fulfill that mission is putting EPA employees at risk,” he added.
Spokespeople for de Blasio and Cuomo brushed off the letter as a "political stunt."