If Democrats and Republicans in Congress don’t reach a deal to avoid a threatened shutdown of the federal government, it could mean thousands of workers at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department will get an early Christmas break.
The EPA actually made plans in September for such a possibility, posting on its website that up to 14,000 workers could be furloughed. There would be some exemptions including workers needed for security at Superfund sites and laboratory personnel and environmental emergency response employees.
It was estimated by Democrats that 16,000 workers at the National Park Service would be furloughed. They represent 80 percent of the Service. Another 28,800 workers at the Forest Service would also be furloughed.
“Lease sales and permits for oil, gas, coal and other minerals on Federal lands and waters will be suspended,” said the Democratic assessment, which noted that energy development on federal lands raised $9 billion in fiscal 2019.
The funding issue has been stalled by Democrats who refuse to support President Trump’s call for $5 billion to finance the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico.
Oklahoma Senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford have supported the wall plan.