Friday, October 4, 2013

What The Shutdown Means For Energy And Environmental Programs

From Think Progress:

By Katie Valentine
on October 1, 2013

As you’ve probably heard, the U.S. government has shut down for the first time in 17 years.
That means many of the agencies responsible for weather, climate and energy regulation are largely shuttered as well, forced to whittle down their staffs to only their most essential employees. These include:

The Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is taking one of the biggest hits of any federal agency — about 96 percent of the agency’s staff aren’t coming to work, meaning the agency, in EPA Chief Gina McCarthy’s words, has “essentially shut down.” The staff that will be coming to work include employees who “ensure continued public health and safety, including safe use of food and drugs and safe use of hazardous materials,” as well as workers who protect federal lands and research property and provide disaster and emergency aid. Managers of some Superfund cleanup sites must come to work if stopping the work would pose a threat to human health; pesticide regulators, staff who write and implement major air pollution rules, and staff who are in charge of the EPA’s proposal for renewable fuel standards, on the other hand, will stay home

National Parks. Google celebrated the 123rd anniversary of Yosemite National Park today; ironically, because the park — and all other national parks, monuments and government-funded museums — is now closed to the public. The oil and gas industry, however, will keep on drilling on public lands, though the process for issuing new oil and gas permits will be halted. Only a few employees will be at work overseeing drilling activities such as “well shut-ins, re-completions, and downhole/equipment changes in drilling/plugging operations.”

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