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Government Shutdown – Environmental Regulatory Impact

October 2, 2013

It’s big news tonight, and why shouldn’t it be?

A government shutdown carries broad and comprehensive ramifications, including significant impacts on the environment, government shutdown environmental impact, and hazardous waste disposal companies. Many of us are left wondering just what it will look like for these industries, EPA shutdown consequences, and environmental regulations during a government shutdown.

The shutdown will reach far and wide, impacting many different departments, including 52% of Health and Human Services on furlough, as well as 82% of Labor and 33% of Transportation.

But an alarming statistic, too, is just how affected the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be, impacting toxic waste cleanup work, Superfund sites shutdown, and EPA furloughed employees. It’s estimated that 94% of 16,205 total employees will be staying home from work come Tuesday, October 1st. In order to be considered essential personnel, it would be necessary that interruption of work “imminently threaten the safety of human life or the protection of property”, and that’s unfortunately only projected to be true for about 3.85% of staff.

Seventeen years ago, when we last witnessed a government shutdown, toxic waste cleanup work was stopped outright. 609 sites halted their cleanup projects, and 2,400 Superfund workers basically went on leave. Most of the EPA’s 18,000 staff members were kept from entering the agency’s premises.

This time around, EPA chief Gina McCarthy says that the imminent government shutdown “will mean that EPA effectively shuts down. A skeleton crew of EPA officials will remain on scene only “to keep the lights on and to respond in the event of a significant emergency.”

The vast majority of people at EPA will not be working,” she said. Most of the agency’s employees will be sent home. This means pesticide regulators, sure, and employees whose jobs involve things like writing laws to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, but an EPA spokesperson said this evening that we can also expect clean-up at 505 Superfund sites in 47 states would be suspended during a shutdown. It’s likely that the EPA’s efforts to hinder carbon pollution from power plants and impact on pesticide regulation will be hindered.

It’s clear the EPA has anything but escaped the far-reaching ramifications of this shutdown. Though the outlook is a bit grim, the repercussions on hazardous waste disposal companies and hazardous waste removal during a government shutdown are unclear and undetermined. If you’re interested in learning a bit more in the meantime, check out the EPA’s Contingency Plan, published September 27th, and the EPA contingency plan.

For more information, or assistance with hazardous waste removal, please contact Hazardous Waste Experts at 800-936-2311.

Disposal of hazardous waste doesn’t have to be painful.