The Government Is Shut Down, But EPA Is Open For Now

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has funds to stay open during the partial shutdown through Friday while many other agencies close their doors, according to Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

Officials “determined that EPA has sufficient carryover funds to operate for a limited period of time,” reads a Dec. 21 email Wheeler sent to EPA employees obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“EPA will remain open the week of December 24, 2018 in the event of a government shutdown,” Wheeler wrote to employees before their four-day weekend to celebrate Christmas. (RELATED: Trump Overhauled The Way We Prevent Wildfires And The Media Totally Missed It)

“All EPA employees should follow their planned schedule for this week, including the holidays on both December 24 and 25, 2018,” Wheeler wrote. “Should the shutdown remain in place through December 28, 2018, we will provide further updates on the agency’s operating status.”

Likewise, EPA regional offices will be open as well. The Trump administration will also keep areas of national parks open during the government shutdown, which started Friday after Congress failed to pass funding for a border wall.

EPA employees also worked through the short-lived government shutdown in January.

It’s unclear how long the current government shutdown will last. President Donald Trump said the government would remain closed until congressional Democrats agreed to fund a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

EPA put a government shutdown plan in place during mid-December, which requires the agency to see if it has the funds to stay open. Otherwise, the roughly 13,700 agency employees not necessary to, for example, respond to emergencies or protect life and property will go home.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler addresses staff at EPA headquarters in Washington

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler addresses staff at EPA headquarters in Washington, U.S., July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Ting Shen.

“This number represents the agency employees who could continue to work in the event of a government shutdown if sufficient resources are available,” reads EPA’s contingency plan.

That’s similar to the 2013 government shutdown when the Obama administration classified more than 98 percent of its employees as non-essential. The 2013 shutdown last 16 days.

“Thank you for your hard work, dedication, and patience through this process, and for all that you do for the EPA and the American people,” Wheeler wrote.

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Tags : andrew wheeler energy environmental protection agency government shutdown
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