The Shutdown Shows Just How Vital Government Scientists Are

From: Wired

“”None of the federal environmental laws are written in such a way that if the government is shut down, you can’t do anything,” says Kyla Bennett, senior attorney for the nonprofit group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which advocates on behalf of federal workers, and a former EPA employee. Instead, the law implies that companies can proceed on their own. “It says, if you don’t hear anything, go ahead.” The Environmental Protection Agency furloughed about 14,000 of its employees, leaving just 753 “essential” workers on the job. That might make it more difficult for the agency to meet legal deadlines later this year for safety assessments of about 40 chemicals, according to a news report in the journal Nature. The agency has already postponed at least one upcoming advisory committee meeting related to the work.”

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