The government shutdown has forced the closure of the national parks, threatening tourism-based local economies and blocking our ability to marvel at the beauty of nature. But what does the shutdown mean for the agencies that work to expand our knowledge of the environment and protect us from pollution? Here's a rundown of how the nation's regulatory, research, and safety programs are faring.
The Environmental Protection Agency
With only a fraction of its staff, the EPA is a shadow of its formal self. Regulatory bodies focusing on air, water, and soil will be crippled, and pending legal actions are put on hold. Plans to drastically increase regulations for coal- and gas-fired power plants and efforts to increase renewable fuel volume standards are also stalled.
The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board
This board is charged with overseeing and identifying the causes of chemical hazards and spills. During the shutdown, it has only three active employees -- one of whom is an IT specialist. We hope there aren't any dangerous spills in the coming days.