On behalf of Rock Palermo of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC posted in Environmental Law on October 04, 2013.
Here in Louisiana, we have all heard about the government shutdown. No matter which side of the aisle you stand with, a government shutdown has some major impacts on many operations, including the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA plays a crucial role in the way power plants and other companies are allowed to operate. It sets limits on carbon emissions and other factors that can damage not only Louisiana's environment, but the global environment as well. With all but 7 percent of its staff sitting at home now because of the government shutdown, however, the environment could be at risk.
It may seem dramatic to suggest that the environment could be affected while the government is not operating, but if the shutdown lasts long enough, we could see some impact. First, the EPA has more than 800 employees who check up on power plants and other operations to ensure they are following the rules for air and water pollution. During the shutdown, less than 200 of those people are still allowed to work, meaning violations could go unnoticed leading to a direct impact on local air and water conditions.
Next, the EPA is the midst of working on several proposals to change regulations around carbon emissions standards and biofuel use. Employees are also responsible for recommending rules to be included in the president's climate action plan for next year. These projects could be delayed by a long government shutdown.
Louisiana has precious natural landscapes and ecosystems that deserve to be protected from pollution. With the EPA mostly inactive, however, it may be difficult to ensure major power plants in our state are following important environmental laws. Hopefully those companies will choose to regulate themselves while we wait for lawmakers to find a way to reopen the federal government.
Source: Reuters, "EPA to be hit hard in shutdown, could delay renewable fuel standard," Valerie Volcovici, Sept. 30, 2013
Tags: Environmental Law