The U.S. government was officially shut down yesterday, and those responsible for the shutdown are already singing its praises. Among other things, they were finally able to achieve their years-long goal of shutting down the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), even if only temporarily.
Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee led the victory lap, tweeting out “There is some good news out of the shutdown, the EPA can't issue new regulations.” Blackburn has received more than $282,000 from the oil and gas industry in campaign contributions during her years in Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The crusade to destroy the EPA is one that the Republican Party has been carrying out for several years, as they erroneously view the standards set forth by the agency as “burdensome” and as “job killers.” Had they bothered to look beyond their own sound bites, they would have learned that the regulations put forth by the agency actually create jobs rather than destroy them.
Sadly, there is some truth to Blackburn’s comment, and it isn’t anything that American citizens should be celebrating. While the agency isn’t entirely crippled at the moment, until the government resumes its operations it will not be able to do all of the jobs necessary to protect Americans.
While the government remains shut down, less than 1,100 of the EPA’s 16,205 employees will remain on the job, which means that less than 7% of the agency will be functioning as normal. While officials claim that law enforcement, public health, and property protection employees will still be working, if the agency runs out of contingency money, those employees too could soon be off the clock.