On the 7th Day of the Shutdown, the EPA Has Run Out of Money

More than 13,700 employees will be furloughed at midnight.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

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As the government shutdown enters its second week, the Environmental Protection Agency is set to run out of funds and join the list of agencies affected by the partial closure. The shutdown was precipitated by President Donald Trump’s insistence that he would only sign a Congressional spending bill that includes funds for a wall on the southern border of the US.

Unlike some other agencies, like the Department of State and the Department of Justice which shuttered almost immediately, the EPA had enough funds to operate through December 28. “EPA has sufficient carryover funds to continue to operate for the remainder of this week,” Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in an email on Thursday afternoon. “However, in the event an appropriation is not passed by Friday, December 28th, EPA will initiate orderly shutdown procedures.”

Approximately 750 EPA staffers will join the 420,000 essential employees working without pay. According to the agency’s shutdown contingency plan, personnel working on Superfund sites or other projects that pose an imminent threat to public health will be exempted from the shutdown. Meanwhile, more than 13,700 other employees throughout the country, who handle activities such as answering Freedom of Information Act requests, inspection of power plants, and reviews of toxic substances will be furloughed

“Shutdowns, which waste American resources and taxpayer dollars, have grave consequences for science and research, public health, public lands and species protections.” Ken Kimmell, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists said in a statement last week. “Community members, especially ones near Superfund sites and other contaminated areas, won’t get their questions answered when federal offices empty out.”

The shutdown has no clear end in sight. Trump is still demanding funding for the wall and threatening to completely close down the border if he doesn’t get his way. On Thursday, after brief sessions, both the Senate and the House adjourned until Monday, making it inevitable that the shutdown will extend into the new year.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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