Environmental Protection Agency employees billed taxpayers roughly $15,000 for gym memberships, while numerous employees are upset over looming budget cuts.
An agency library in Las Vegas, Nevada, bought 37 employees one-year memberships to the gym 24 Hour Fitness, according to a receipt obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. The "super sport" memberships cost $399.99 each.
The employees work at the U.S. Environmental Science Division located at 944 East Harmon Ave. in Las Vegas. The address is home to the EPA's National Exposure Research Laboratory and a library on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) campus, which EPA scientists, postdoctorate researchers, and contractors use for research.
The receipt for "fitness memberships for EPA employees" totaled $14,799.63 and was created in April 2016.
The 24 Hour Fitness memberships include yoga and martial arts classes. The gym boasts "good vibes" where EPA employees can "sweat it out together."
The taxpayer funding for gym memberships comes at a time when numerous EPA employees are upset with President Trump's proposed budget, which would reduce the EPA's annual funding to $5.7 billion. Employees were coming to work in tears months after Trump's presidential victory. Recently, unionized EPA employees participated in "resistance" rallies on Capitol Hill.
The EPA office opted to purchase the expensive memberships from 24 Hour Fitness instead of utilizing the gym on UNLV's campus. The agency leases five buildings from the university.
The university has a 184,000-square-foot Student Recreation and Wellness Center that is available to EPA employees for $25 per month.
The campus gym includes a "state-of-the-art" 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."
Instead, the agency opted to bill taxpayers $400 per person. Request for comment from the EPA library and the Environmental Science Division were not immediately returned.