WAMU 88.5 : News

Shutdown Would Hamper D.C. Environmental Work, Chesapeake Bay Cleanup

Play associated audio
Sunset over the Chesapeake Bay from the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Sunset over the Chesapeake Bay from the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

In the District, the Department of the Environment (DDOE) would be reduced to a skeleton staff to respond to emergencies — but regular activities including investigations into illegal dumping and the issuance of environmental permits for construction would stop.

"We will not be doing inspections, we will not be issuing notices of infraction and violation and we will not be doing our permitting which is a fundamental part of the economic development process here in the city," says Christophe Tulou, director of DDOE.

Doug Siglin, federal affairs director at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, says the current budget negotiations and possible shutdown could have an effect on the entire Chesapeake Bay region. That's because the House budget bill passed Thursday includes a rider from Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) that would strip funding for the EPA's Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan.

If that language is included in a final budget agreement between Congressional leaders, "it would have an enormous impact, if you take that literally farmers wouldn't get any cost-share assistance from USDA," says Siglin. "Cities and towns wouldn't get assistance to upgrade sewage treatment plans — all federal funds that go to pollution reduction would be stopped for the rest of the year."

On other environmental projects, the EPA says it will continue to clean up Superfund sites where stopping would pose a public health risk and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says work would continue at Fort Detrick and Spring Valley sites because contracts there have been paid for already with existing budget funding.


From A Weirdo Nerd To A Guy Who Plays One On TV

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with the actor Rainn Wilson about his new memoir, The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy.

How Long Can Florida's Citrus Industry Survive?

The USDA recently stunned growers when it projected the smallest orange harvest for Florida in more than 50 years. The culprit: A tiny insect that's killing off the state's trees — and industry.

Snapshots 2016: Trump's Message Resonates With A Master Cabinet Maker

From time to time during this election season we'll be introducing you to ordinary people that our reporters meet out on the campaign trail. Today: a snapshot from a Donald Trump rally in New Hampshire.

Someday A Helicopter Drone May Fly Over Mars And Help A Rover

NASA is building a 2-pound helicopter drone that would help guide the vehicle on the Red Planet's surface. That way, the rover wouldn't need to wander as much to find its way around.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.