Press Release

U.S. Rep. Castor Votes to Reopen Our National Parks and to Allow EPA to Resume Its Activities Protecting Public Health

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Washington, January 11, 2019 | comments
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) voted on one of the numerous U.S. Senate Republican-passed bills to reopen the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other critical agencies, including the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, to prevent the degradation of Florida’s national parks and monuments, allow EPA to resume its critical activities in protecting Florida’s clean air and waters that are inextricably linked to our state’s economy, and protecting the nation’s public health.
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U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) voted on one of the numerous U.S. Senate Republican-passed bills to reopen the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other critical agencies, including the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, to prevent the degradation of Florida’s national parks and monuments, allow EPA to resume its critical activities in protecting Florida’s clean air and waters that are inextricably linked to our state’s economy, and protect the nation’s public health.  This bill was passed by the U.S. Senate in the last Congress, but today the same Republican leadership and President Trump are blocking it and continuing a shutdown that is hurting a rising number of working families and communities across the country.

“I recently asked my neighbors to share stories of how the shutdown is affecting their lives,” said U.S. Rep. Castor.  “One response I received was from a woman who is no longer able to volunteer as a docent at Egmont Key.  As she said, ‘Visitors love seeing the restored Guardhouse and learning the history of the island and about its wildlife.  Visitors are losing out on learning about our national treasures.’  We have worked so hard on ways to save, preserve and promote this barrier island, and turning our backs on our national treasures – on ensuring they are enjoyed not only today, but for years to come – is nothing short of reckless.

“The Trump Shutdown is now in its 21st day and the damage the President’s reckless decision has caused is mounting.  My colleagues and I are taking swift action to honor our duty to end this chaos, keep our neighbors safe and be responsible stewards of our precious natural resources, especially in Florida where our economy depends on a clean environment,” U.S. Rep. Castor continued.

“Key EPA grants to fund environment protection activities also cannot be dispersed while the EPA is shut down,” U.S. Rep. Castor said.  “That means that Florida could see our federal dollars, which reached $105 million in FY 2017 for our state, no longer support critical initiatives.  For over two weeks, EPA has been unable to perform its essential, life-saving role of protecting the clean air our children breathe and the clean water that they drink.  The President does not seem to care, threatening to keep the government and its critical services for public health closed for ‘years.’”

EPA had carry-over funds for the first week of the Trump Shutdown.  However, since Dec. 29, 2018, EPA has been without funds.

On Day One, the new Democratic House passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act – seven pieces of U.S. Senate Republican-passed legislation combined as one—to end the Trump Shutdown, reopen government and secure our borders.  But President Trump and the GOP have continued to play politics with federal workers and hundreds of thousands of lives and communities across the country – the Trump Shutdown is now in its 21st day.  This week, the House has passed four standalone appropriations bills as an effort to reopen the government as quickly as possible.

“As long as the Trump Shutdown continues, the health and well-being of Florida’s environment – and future generations – remain at risk.  It is past time that the President realizes the damage he is causing and end this shutdown,” U.S. Rep. Castor concluded.

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