Pruitt: EPA Will Remain Open In Case of Shutdown

Agency has 'sufficient resources' to remain open for week if deal isn't reached

Scott Pruitt / Getty Images
• January 19, 2018 4:00 pm


The Environmental Protection Agency has the resources necessary to continue working through next week, even if there is a government shutdown, according to Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Pruitt sent a message to employees Friday afternoon advising the EPA to plan to work through the week of Jan. 22, regardless if congressional leaders and the White House cannot reach a deal to keep the government funded.

"As many of you are aware, annual funding for the government expires at midnight," Pruitt said in a message to all employees.

"At this time EPA has sufficient resources to remain open for a limited amount of time in the event of a government shutdown," he said. "All EPA employees should follow their normal work schedule for the week of January 22, 2018."

Pruitt said the EPA would need to reassess its resources if a possible shutdown lasts longer than a week.

"Should the shutdown occur and remain in place through January 26, 2018, we will provide further updates on the agency's operating status," he said. "In addition, all travel needs to be approved by the Administrator's Office."

"Thank you for your hard work, dedication, and patience through this process, and for all that you do for the EPA and the American people," Pruitt concluded.

Government funding will expire at midnight if the Senate does not pass a short-term continuing resolution passed by the House that funds the government for four weeks and extends the Children's Health Insurance Program for six years. Democrats have vowed to oppose the measure, though Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said progress was made during a meeting with the president Friday afternoon.

Although they do not support a short-term funding fix, Democrats have issued dire warnings against a shutdown. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) said people would die if a shutdown occurs.

The EPA issued a contingency plan for a shutdown in late December, stating that the agency "may exempt activities from the shutdown if the activities are funded with unexpired appropriations." The plan stated that while the agency would experience furloughs, essential services would continue.

Published under: EPA, Government Shutdown, Scott Pruitt