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The Government Shutdown’s effect on the EPA

US-EPA-Seal-EO11628

US-EPA-Seal-EO11628 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reposted from http://ieconnections.com

The shutdown of the federal government that began October 1 is affecting agencies and departments that deal with indoor environmental issues.

Now that the government has run out of money due to the failure to reach a budget agreement, federal agencies must decide which employees are “essential” and which ones can be furloughed for the duration of the budget impasse.

Ninety-four percent of the employees at the Environmental Protection Agency are being furloughed. This will suspend, for the time being, the agency’s ability to enforce its rules regarding lead-based paint, which require landlords to notify prospective tenants at rental units about potential hazards and contractors to be certified with respect to their knowledge of safe practices. Individuals should, of course, remain in compliance, as the agency will certainly reopen at some point.

But the head of the union that represents EPA employees issued a statement noting that some workers will remain on duty.

“Even today, some employees will continue to assist flood ravaged communities so that they can once again have clean, safe drinking water and fully functioning bathrooms,” the letter said. “They are helping these communities put the essentials in place so that they can begin to rebuild. But they will not have the support of their colleagues in the office, because they have been sent home to wait, wait for Congress to do its job and fund the government.” Read More

Asbestos Bill Invades the Privacy of Victims and Veterans | Commentary

By Susan Vento, http://www.rollcall.com

Since at least the early 1900s, the lethal risks of asbestos exposure have been known — and intentionally hidden from — American workers and their families by companies of all sorts whose bottom lines were more important than the well-being and very lives of their workers.

For many years, asbestos companies have lobbied at the state and federal levels to erode the constitutional and legal rights of those workers diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis and cancers caused by asbestos. Now they are lobbying Congress once again to delay and deny medical bill payments to those who are sick and dying.

The FACT Act is not about transparency at all. It requires the unbelievable disclosure on a public website of asbestos victims’ personal information, including the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, information about their finances, their children and other sensitive material that could subject them to identity theft and possible criminal mischief. The bill is completely one-sided — asbestos companies have no such “transparency” requirements. Read More