[sc:date]It’s official: the federal government has officially shut down for the first time in nearly two decades. While you’ve probably heard that most federal parks and attractions are closed as a result of the shutdown, a lesser-known but more important impact involves the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Whether your company directly deals with the EPA or not, you should be aware of the new changes incurred from the government shutdown.
According to some reports, the EPA will be hit the hardest from the government shutdown. With over 169 different facilities spanning throughout 50 states, the EPA is a massive organization that plays a key role in protecting public health and interest. As of 2013, they have an estimated 16,204 employees working for them. Unfortunately, a significantly large portion of these workers will be forced to go home without pay.
So, how many EPA workers can expect to be furloughed? The EPA states that only essential personal whom are directly responsible for the public’s well-being will be allowed to show up for work. Of the agency’s 16,204 employees, this amounts to just 1,069 workers. The remaining 15,000+ are forced to go home without pay until further notice.
It’s important to note that non-essential EPA workers still play a key role in the public’s health. By sending them home due to a government shutdown, there’s a greater chance of accidents occurring. And to make matters worse, there’s no official date set for when these employees can get back to work. With both sides of congress playing a dangerous game of chicken, important organizations such as the EPA are getting caught in the crossfire.
To say the EPA is working with ‘limited’ resources now would be an understatement. They’re forced to prioritize spill sites to determine which ones pose an immediate threat to the public’s health. If there’s an on-site spill that’s not a direct danger, the EPA is forced to turn their head until for the time being. If left untreated, spill sites may continue to become more problematic, but the EPA simply doesn’t have the funds or manpower to handle them until the government is back in order.
For more information about these changes, read the official EPA contingency plan for a government shutdown. It’s a thorough 14-page document which outlines the agency’s plan in the event of a shutdown, which of course has already happened. The contingency plan covers everything from exempted activities to payroll access and shutdown implementation.