If the number of employees being furloughed by Federal agencies due to the government shutdown is any indicator of just how “essential” an agency actually is, most of the aspects of the Environmental Protection Agency’s mission are “non-essential.”
According to and EPA document obtained by Reuters, more than nine out of every 10 EPA employees are considered by the Federal government to be non-essential workers and will be furloughed over the course of the government shutdown.
The agency said that it would “classify 1,069 employees, out of 16,205, as essential,” about 6.6 percent of the agency’s entire workforce, for the purpose of trimming in the event of a government shutdown.
The news outlet also reports that a majority of the agency’s Office of Air and Radiation employees will be furloughed, tightening the timeline for the completion of certain court-imposed deadlines to examine climate change caused by industrial and power plant pollution.
“People are not going to be able to be working on these rules at home,” Dina Kruger, an environmental regulation consultant and former climate change director at the EPA, told Reuters.
The belt-tightening at the EPA will also set back the agency’s ability to comply with a number of key provisions laid out in President Barack Obama’s climate change agenda.
Many Congressional Republicans have lauded the EPA’s massive cutbacks as a silver lining of the government shutdown.
“There is some good news out of the shutdown, the EPA can’t issue new regulations,” Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), said on Twitter.