Less than a week into his presidency, Joe Biden has already signed executive orders emphasizing the importance of science, environmental justice and climate change within the Environmental Protection Agency.

And Undine Kipka says the biggest thing she’s feeling right now is relief.

Kipka is an environmental engineer and union vice president at the EPA’s New England office. She says the last four years — spent working under a president skeptical of both climate change and environmental regulations — have been pretty tough, almost traumatic.

“It was kind of like a culture of fear around everything, really,” Kipka says. Though her regional office had it better than others, she says, she and her colleagues still worried that raising “sensitive” topics like climate change, environmental justice or diversity and inclusion training would get them into trouble.

“I personally did start, unintentionally, self-censoring around climate change,” Kipka says, “even though I didn’t really want to do that, or I wasn’t really told specifically to do that, it affected the way I was working and thinking.”

Steve Calder, a Clean Air Act inspector and union president at EPA’s New England office, says that morale was also low under Trump because of understaffing and overwork. Some younger scientists who wanted to work on climate change left the agency, he says, and older workers near retirement age decided it was time to go.

Read the rest of the story at WBUR’s website.