Funding Impasse Threatens Park Shutdowns, Oil & Gas Permitting Freeze
"As lawmakers struggle to pass a spending bill before current federal funding runs out next week, observers warn that a government shutdown could severely hamper land management agencies and the people and businesses they support.
Failure to extend funding could mean furloughs for tens of thousands of agency employees and lead to the closure of national parks, the loss of regional tourism dollars and the cessation of permitting for oil and gas drilling, mining, recreation and other public land uses.
The last time the federal government shut down in 2005 and 2006, for example, the National Park Service was forced to close 368 sites and turn away a reported 7 million visitors, according to a September 2010 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS). Monuments and national museums also shut down, the report found."Source: Greenwire, 02/24/2011