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Shutdown: What's at Stake With Energy and Environment? Shutdown: What's at Stake With Energy and Environment?

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Shutdown: What's at Stake With Energy and Environment?


U.S. Park Rangers stand at the closed gate to Joshua Tree National Park, in Joshua Tree, California on October 2, 2013, the second day of the US government shutdown.(ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

What areas of energy and environment policy are losing the most with the federal government shutdown?

In the initial days after the government shut down at midnight last Monday, public outrage about America's suddenly shuttered national parks was rampant. In response, House Republicans moved bills to reopen them (and other certain parts of the government, like the National Institutes of Health). But such measures failed to gain traction in the upper chamber, where Senate Democratic leadership refused to negotiate on piecemeal approaches to funding the government.


Concerns were also raised about what impact the shutdown may have on various agencies' highest-profile responsibilities, including Environmental Protection Agency rulemaking for its climate-change rules and the Interior Department's permitting process for oil and natural-gas projects.

What long-term consequences do energy and environment issues face in the midst of a government shutdown? Are there any policies in this area that could actually benefit from the lack of a federal government? When the government does reopen (one must assume that's a "when" and not an "if"), what will be the lingering effects of the shutdown?

On a symbolic level, what does this say about Washington's ability to pass ostensibly easy measures, like the bipartisan energy-efficiency bill that the Senate pushed aside last month without taking action it?


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