WASHINGTON, D.C. – With Congress failure to reach an agreement on a budget before the midnight deadline, Aaron Weil, Environment America’s conservation advocate released the following statement on the environmental impacts of the government shutdown.
“As a result of the shutdown, by the time Americans wake up, more than 400 parks, wildlife refuges, historical battlefields and national forests will be closed to any and all visitors. Additionally a majority of personnel from the Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture, are temporarily out of work, halting many of our nation’s critical clean air and clean water programs. Despite this lack of environmental oversight, most public lands and waters remain open to oil, gas, and mining operations, further threatening the well being of our treasured public lands.
“Just as people flock to view the stunning fall foliage of Shenandoah National Park and enjoy the last few weeks of summer camping in Yellowstone, hundreds of thousands of visitors will arrive at our nation’s parks this morning greeted by closed gates and empty ranger stations.
“Having the doors close on ‘America’s best idea’ is bad enough, however keeping our public lands and parks open to private mining and gas drilling companies who are polluting these treasured landscapes in spite of these closures is truly deplorable.
“We urge Congress to quickly pass a budget which restores funding to our parks and gives our agencies the resources they need to keep our air and water clean and our parks and forests protected from pollution and development.”