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Government Shutdown and Impact on EPA
With the government shutdown stretching into its third week, the impacts are being felt across DC, particularly at the EPA. Furloughed staff at the EPA are hoping for a deal on Capitol Hill that restores federal funding and delivers paychecks. Thousands of employees at those agencies have now been out of work for more than two weeks, and the logjam over funding for a border wall shows no immediate signs of abating.
The newly minted House majority passed two bills last Thursday to enact new funding levels at EPA, and other agencies that shut down in December. The legislation would give the EPA $8.8 billion, a bump from the proposed FY19 budget.
The new funding levels closely resemble those passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to prevent a vote with President Trump vowing to veto any legislation that does not include border wall funding.
More traditional legislative activity for energy and environment policy is so far less clear. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone announced last week that the panel’s first hearing would focus on the environmental and economic impacts of climate change. A date is not yet set.
The new Democratic-controlled House is also expected to take up H.R. 4426, Sustainable Energy Development Reform Act. The legislation seeks to reform the leasing of public lands for energy extraction, promote the development of renewable energy on public lands, prepare for the impacts of climate change and protect “special places.”
Click below for a recap of EPA policy changes in 2018 and a preview of what’s in store for 2019.