EPA Resumes Work After Shutdown; 16,000 Kept Out of Office

With the House, Senate and President agreeing to budget/debt ceiling legislation Wednesday night, furloughed employees of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are heading back to work. More than 93 percent of the agency?s 16,000 employees were kept out of the office due to the closing of the federal government.

Water regulations in development will not likely miss their projected deadlines because rule development is already a slow, methodical process. However, the agency will continue to face budgetary belt-tightening. The legislation rebooting the federal government funds EPA at post-sequester levels for fiscal year 2014, and another round of automatic cuts are due in January unless Congress passes legislation with more targeted cuts.

In addition, the deal reached by Congress and the President only funds the government until Jan. 15, 2014 and raises the debt ceiling until Feb. 7.

States have felt the pain as well. Many state environmental programs rely ? to varying degrees ? on federal grants to run their programs. Some states had begun to furlough employees themselves. Some states in fact operate large portions, and some cases all, of their drinking water programs with funds from Public Water System Supervision grants and portions of the state revolving loan fund programs.

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