Impacts of a government shutdown on environmental concerns




(Click links to see Agencies’ shutdown contingency plans)




(94 percent of workers furloughed)


EXCEPTED ACTIVITIES: Primary examples of activities related to EPA that the agency may continue to perform following shutdown include:

·         Providing for homeland and national security, including the conduct of foreign relations essential to the national security; or

·         Voluntary or personal services necessary to respond to emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property, where the threat to human life or property is imminent, including:

·         Activities essential to ensure continued public health and safety, including safe use of food and drugs and safe use of hazardous materials;

·         Protection of federal lands, buildings, equipment, research property, and other property owned by the United States;

·         Law enforcement and criminal investigations; and

·         Emergency and disaster assistance.

·         Support Staff: Only the minimum staff and support services necessary to continue the above listed functions should be maintained.


The specific excepted activities, personnel, and level of support required based on the examples above will be determined by the Office of Administration and Resources Management in consultation with the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, the Office of General Counsel and appropriate program offices.


Specific examples of excepted activities include:


Excepted Activities to Support Superfund Response Site Work

Imminent threat to Public Health – Sites/projects, predominantly associated with the superfund program, where a failure to maintain operations would pose an imminent threat to human life. The sites/projects require the EPA personnel to direct or oversee the response activities and/or provide critical support functions. There is an expectation that the EPA presence or activities, typically by an on scene coordinator or remedial project manager will be required. The EPA will evaluate more than 800 superfund sites to determine how many meet this criterion. (For example, if ceasing the operation of an acid mine drainage treatment plan would cause a release to a stream that provided drinking water to a community; the agency would consider that situation to pose an imminent threat. A second example is an emergency removal response to a situation posing an imminent threat to human health.)

EPA Laboratories.


The EPA maintains 39 program and regional laboratories across the continental United States. These laboratories have unique functions that support the agency in fulfilling its mission to safeguard human health and protect the natural environment. The EPA will take necessary measures to ensure the physical integrity of the EPA’s research property is protected where, without these measures, the property would be damaged or destroyed. In order to protect research property and stand-alone facilities, personnel will be excepted as needed to ensure critical operating requirements are not impaired. These needs are as far-ranging as ensuring the physical protection of federal property,  that controlled environments (such as freezers) will function and not be damaged, that scientific instrumentation will function and not be impaired, and that lab animals, plants, and other unique test organisms will not be damaged or destroyed.


Laboratory operations involved in the toxicity testing of environmental samples requires the use of unique test organisms such as fathead minnow and small crustaceans. The test organisms must be grown under controlled laboratory conditions such as temperature, light, water quality and food supply in order to provide reproducible results during testing. Depending on the test organism, a period of weeks or months under controlled growing conditions is required for the organism to reproduce. Personnel will be excepted as needed in order to protect the physical integrity of the test organisms so that a shutdown will not result in the loss of viable test organisms.


The responsibilities for many of these laboratory- related excepted activities will be shared between several individuals, splitting work on an as needed basis whenever possible.


Emergency Response Readiness Operations

EPA’s emergency response program serves as a safety net to states, local and private first responders for situations involving actual and/or threatened of environmental emergencies. The program supports the White House national essential functions through our primary mission essential function. Specifically, EPA’s PMEF is to prevent, limit, mitigate or contain chemical, oil, radiological, biological, and hazardous materials during and in the aftermath of an accident, natural or man-made disaster in the United States, and provide environmental monitoring, assessment and reporting in support of domestic incident management.


In the event of a shutdown, regional offices should utilize existing procedures to maintain their phone and response on-duty on-scene coordinator(s) to maintain and ensure prompt support of environmental emergency responses that requires EPA attention and/or action. HQ offices with emergency response responsibilities should also maintain their duty personnel to ensure prompt support and/or oversight of environmental emergency responses that require EPA attention and/or action.


In the event of a water related incident where the threat to human life or property is imminent, individuals from the Water Security Division emergency response team would need to return to work in order to assist with EPA's response efforts. Also, certain technical specialists from the Office of Water incident support team would need to return to work depending on the type of emergency.


The WSD individuals would need to report to their normal workstation or to the EPA Emergency Operations Center. Duties would include: national incident command center reporting on SSA issues; setting up the water desk; running the water desk (i.e. managing e-mails and calls, reaching out to technical specialists to answer inquiries; developing a schedule for water desk staffing from among the incident support team members who are also on call; attending NICC meetings; drafting OW management reports; reviewing and approving contractor invoices and emergency travel authorizations.


In addition, the EPA may draw upon technical specialists as relevant expertise contingent on the nature of the emergency.



(58 percent of Rock Island District workers furloughed)


·         The Rock Island District includes Coralville, Lake Red Rock and Saylorville.

·         All Corps-operated campgrounds, day-use parks and boat ramps are closed. No new visitors or reservations will be accepted until after the shutdown ends.

·         Recreation customers may cancel their reservations for a full refund.

·         Customers required to vacate campsites early will receive a partial refund for any unused portion of their reservations. Customers may elect to leave reservations open for possible use after the shutdown ends.

·         If the customer chooses to do nothing, the reservation service will automatically cancel reservations after their departure date during the shutdown period.

·         Corps parks leased to partner agencies and concessionaires will remain open, but cannot be supported by the Corps while the shutdown is in place.

·         Lock and dam tours on the Mississippi River have been cancelled.



U.S. Department of Interior:


Bureau of Indian Affairs

(61 percent of workers furloughed)


The BIA discontinued most of its services to tribes which will impact most programs and activities.


Services and programs that ceased:

•        Management and protection of trust assets such as lease compliance and real estate transactions.

•        Federal oversight on environmental assessments, archeological clearances, and endangered species compliance.

•        Management of oil and gas leasing and compliance.

•        Timber Harvest and other Natural Resource Management operations.

•        Tribal government related activities.

•        Payment of financial assistance to needy individuals, and to vendors providing foster care and residential care for children and adults.

•        Disbursement of tribal funds for tribal operations including responding to tribal government request.


Services and programs that remain operational:

•        Law enforcement and operation of detention centers.

•        Social Services to protect children and adults.

•        Irrigation and Power – delivery of water and power.

•        Firefighting and response to emergency situations.


Bureau of Land Management

(94 percent of workers furloughed)


The BLM has responsibility for managing 245 million surface acres, primarily in 11 Western States, including Alaska, and 700 million acres of Federal onshore mineral estate, as well as the responsibility for mineral operations and cadastral surveys on 56 million acres of Indian trust lands. The BLM is entrusted with managing 13 percent of the United States land mass and more than 40 percent of all federally-managed lands. These lands encompass a broad range of habitats, including desert, grassland, sage-steppe, forest, high mountain, and arctic tundra. BLM management benefits conservation and traditional land users, while contributing to the vitality of State and local economies and delivering benefits to all Americans through outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production. In the event that Congress is unable to enact appropriations for FY 2014 or a continuing resolution, most activities of the BLM will be halted.


Services and programs that have ceased:

•        Recreation areas, including campgrounds, visitor center and concessions

•        Businesses operated by outfitters with BLM-issued permits will not be able to operate on BLM-managed public lands that are closed

•        Some roads

•        Non-emergency Abandoned Mine Land and hazmat mitigation

•        Processing of Applications for Permits to drill for oil and gas

•        Processing of lease sales, permits and other non-emergency authorizations of onshore oil and gas, coal and other minerals Permits and approvals for renewable energy and other rights of way issuances

•        Endangered Species Act and cultural clearances

•        Range management restoration

•        Wild horse and burro adoptions

•        Sand and gravel permits

•        Timber sales

•        Work on resource management plans, including those driven by court deadlines

•        Monitoring of grazing allotments


Services and Programs that remain operational:

·         Law Enforcement and Emergency Response to ensure safety of human life and protection of property across the states

•        Inspection and Enforcement of Existing Oil and Gas, Goal, and other Mineral Activities

•        Alaska Pipeline Operations

•        Rights of Way and Construction

•        Management of wild horse and burro holding facilities to include animal caretaking

•        Firefighting

•        Helium operations


Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)

(48 percent of workers furloughed; number increases to 92 percent in event of extended shutdown)


The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) regulates and enforces the responsible development of energy and mineral resources on the Outer Continental Shelf to protect the environment and enhance safety.


Services and programs that have ceased:

•        National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility (Ohmsett)

•        Training Programs

•        Regulation drafting and promulgation

•        Scientific studies that are not related to major on-going activities


Services and Programs that remain operational:

•        Drilling and Production Safety

•        Routine and emergency inspections of offshore oil and gas operations and inspections needed to begin new drilling activities

•        Processing of applications for drilling permits and other offshore permits

•        Review of permit modifications on a case by case basis and requests for permit modifications that are needed to ensure drilling safety and occupational health and safety

•        Environmental planning needed to prepare on-going National Environmental Policy Act compliance documents


Fish and Wildlife Service


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) works with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages nearly 150 million acres of land and waters in the national wildlife refuge system, operates 73 national fish hatcheries and is responsible for implementing and enforcing some of our Nation’s most important environmental laws, such as the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, The Lacey Act, and international agreements like the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.


Conservation-related employees excepted:

·         Fisheries and Habitat Conservation – minimum one person per hatchery

·         Endangered Species – minimum one, maximum three person per captive breeding facility

·         National Wildlife Refuge System – 310 employees to manage 568 refuges and 38 wetland management districts

·         Law Enforcement – only administrative personnel as needed

·         Fire Management Staff – limited to preparedness and wildfire suppression on Service lands

·         FWS has 499 employees who fit into the category “employees whose compensation is financed by other than annual appropriations.”


Services and programs that have ceased:

•        National Wildlife Refuges will be closed to public access. Visitor Centers and other buildings are closed.

•        All activities are canceled on federal lands and public buildings until the government reopens. This includes hunting and fishing activities on public lands.

•        No permitting work or consultations will occur with respect to the Endangered Species Act, Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species, the Lacy Act or the National Environmental Policy Act.

•        Employees and others may not volunteer their services on behalf of Service functions or on federal lands.


Services and Programs that remain operational:

Programs financed by other than annual appropriations, include:

•        Activities expressly authorized by law.

•        Necessary activities to protect life and property.



•        Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration           Non-lapsing funding sources available

•        Sport Fish Restoration                    Non-lapsing funding sources available

•        Natural Resource Damage Assessment Fund Non- lapsing funding sources available

•        Refuge Law Enforcement              Emergency and/or excepted activity

•        Law Enforcement                            Emergency and/or excepted activity

•        Firefighting                                       Emergency and/or excepted activity

•        Care and feeding activities at hatcheries            Emergency and/or excepted activity

      and captive breeding facilities      



National Park Service

(87 percent of workers furloughed)


As stated in its original authorizing legislation, the National Park Service mission is to “preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.”


The National Park Service manages over 84 million acres in all 50 States and Territories in 401 park units that preserve, protect, and share the history of this land and its people. Nearly 287 million people visited the national parks in 2012 and NPS works to provide visitor services in partnership with over 250,000 volunteers.


Services and programs that have ceased.

•        All national parks will be closed and secured:

•        Visitor centers and other facilities will be closed.

•        Education programs and special events will be canceled.

•        Permits for special events will be rescinded.

•        Guests staying in hotels and campgrounds will be notified of the closure and given 48 hours to make alternate arrangements and leave the park.


Services and programs that remain operational:

•        Law enforcement including the U.S. Park Police and emergency and disaster assistance.

•        Firefighting and monitoring.

•        Border and coastal protection and surveillance.

•        Limited management of ongoing projects that are funded from non-lapsing appropriations.

•        Access to through roads.



Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

 (98 percent of workers furloughed)


The mission of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) is to carry out the requirements of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act in cooperation with the States and Tribes. OSM’s primary objectives are to 1) ensure that coal mine surface activities are operated in a manner that protects citizens and the environment during mining, 2) assure that the land is restored to beneficial use following mining, and 3) address the effects of past mining by aggressively pursuing reclamation of abandoned coal mines.


Services and programs that have ceased:

•        Federal oversight of active coal mines.

•        Federal oversight of abandoned coal mines.

•        Federal regulation and inspections of coal mines, primarily in Tennessee and on Indian Lands–except in emergency situations.

•        Federal review and issuance of coal mining permits, permit revisions and mine plans reviews.

•        Technical Assistance to States and Tribes.

•        Technical Training sponsored by OSM.

•        Access to information provided to States and Industry via websites, such as the Applicant

•        Violator System, Abandoned Mine Land Inventory, technical software applications (TIPS)


Services and programs that remain operational:

•        Abandoned Mine Land Emergency declarations if requested by States.

•        Federal Abandoned Mine Land emergencies.

•        Citizen Complaints – alleged violation or imminent harm on active coal mine sites.

•        Federal regulation of active coal mine sites – imminent danger to health, safety, and environmental damage.



U. S. Geological Survey

(99 percent of workers furloughed)


The U.S. Geological Survey is the Earth and natural science research bureau for the Department of the Interior and the only integrated natural resources research agency in the Federal Government. The U.S. Geological Survey’s research and data products support the Department of the Interior’s resource and management needs, and also provide the water, biological, energy, and mineral resources information needed by other Federal, State, Tribal, and local government agencies. Emergency response organizations, natural resource managers, land use planners, and other customers use this information to protect lives and property and to make informed decisions based on the application of science.


Services and programs that have ceased:

•        Collecting, monitoring, analyzing, and providing scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues, and problems

•        Carrying out large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations to provide impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers.

•        Online access to publications, maps, and data will be limited

•        Water quality data will not be received, analyzed or disseminated to the public


Services and Programs that remain operational:

•        Emergency Flood Response to include flood forecast & flood warnings and providing data to emergency flood managers

•        Earthquake Hazards Program:  24/7 Monitoring

•        Volcano Observatories: Monitor on-going volcanic activity

•        Biological Threat Coordination: Emergency Response in event of wildlife mortality event or pandemic

•        Landsat 7 and 8 Satellite Operations

•        Scientific Laboratories to remain open on limited basis to maintain operations of critical and costly research experiments and ensure proper functioning of equipment to maintain integrity of samples

•        National Ice Core Labs (NICL):  Maintain one-of-a-kind facility for storing meteoric ice cores Essential for research

•        Maintenance of Nuclear Reactor

•        Animal caretaking

•        Detection and analysis of zoonotic threats in wildlife



Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

(45 percent of workers furloughed)


FDA continues limited activities related to its user fee funded programs including the activities in the Center for Tobacco Products. FDA also continues select vital activities including maintaining critical consumer protection to handle emergencies, high-risk recalls, civil and criminal investigations, import entry review, and other critical public health issues.

Services and Programs that remain operational:

•        Inspect regulated products and manufacturers, conduct sample analysis on products

•        Review imports offered for entry into the U.S.; includes active investigators needed to perform inspections

•        Recall operations

•        Emergency response, review import entries and make admissibility decisions

•        Conducting and overseeing adverse event reporting and lot release protocol reviews

•        Providing support with surveillance, product incidents, compliance, recalls, and emergencies



(92 percent of workers furloughed)


•        No services available




(90 percent of workers furloughed)


Continue public health and safety oversight operations at DOE defense nuclear facilities for as long as possible using OMB approved apportioned funds (carryover) from the previous fiscal year



U. S. Department of Agriculture


Food Safety and Inspection Service

(13 percent of all workers furloughed)


The following headquarters staffs performing the central program guidance, coordination, direction and planning functions described will be furloughed except as minimally required in direct support of Agency field operations.


Services and Programs that remain operational:

·         Personnel essential to the functioning of food safety operations in the nation’s food supply,

·         Continue to perform services essential to public health

·         Due to the large numbers of in-plant inspection personnel who support excepted activities, most individuals in this area are excepted and on duty.

·         The majority of all Laboratory functions.


The following headquarters staffs performing the central program guidance, coordination, direction and planning functions described will be furloughed except as minimally required in direct support of Agency field operations:


Inspection Operations (Office of Field Operations):

(16 percent of workers furloughed)

·         Responsible for planning, coordinating and directing the Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products Inspection programs.


Public Health Science (Office of Public Health Science):

(29 percent of workers furloughed)

•        Responsible for planning, coordinating and directing all scientific guidance and support in chemistry, epidemiology, pathology, toxicology, nutrition, and parasitological.

•        Performs Agency risk assessments, directs the residue testing program, and also performs activities that address zoonotic diseases. With the exception of the laboratory function within Public Health Science, designations for these functions are nonexcepted, with limited individuals being identified as excepted and on duty.


Regulatory Programs (Office of Policy and Program Development):

(96 percent of workers furloughed)

·         Responsible for planning all Agency policies relating to domestic and international inspection, enforcement, equivalence, and auditing policies

·         Pre-market review of all food labels

·         Develops Agency regulations and policies relative to product standards and truthful labeling of meat and poultry product

·         Suitability reviews of food ingredients in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administrations’ review of new technologies

·         Develops of Agency Federal Register documents, directives and notices

·         Performs analyses of economic and other matters


Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit (OIEA)

(65 percent of workers furloughed)


Part of International Programs that also includes Office of Field Operations and Office of Policy and Program Development)

·         Responsible for ensuring that meat, poultry, and egg products from foreign countries are safe and wholesome.

·         Confer with foreign governments on issues involving imports and exports of meat, poultry and egg products and international food safety standards.



U. S. Forest Service


Services and Programs that remain operational:

•        Fire Suppression including fire fighters and all necessary equipment costs to protect life and property.

•        Law Enforcement personnel and all necessary equipment costs to protect life and property.

•        Emergency and Natural Disasters Response (i.e., floods)

•        Protection of Federal lands, buildings, waterways, equipment and other property and investments owned by the United States when the suspension of such activities would cause an imminent threat to human life and property. This includes nurseries, insectaries, tree seed labs, and the minimum level of staffing to administer permits and contracts needed for protection of National Forest System lands.

•        All contracts in support of cyber security and infrastructure operations to support key positions and essential personnel.

•        Protection of Research studies where lack of continuation measurements or maintenance would destroy or endanger validity of research findings. Includes green houses, growth chambers, etc.

•        Job Corps operations unless directed otherwise by Department of Labor.

•        Collection and Payment activities for previous legal obligations. This includes one person at the financial center to process bill and payment transactions resulting from previous legal actions such as judgments and settlements.

•        Excepted positions and support of excepted personnel as needed for close down.

•        Emergency and Defense Preparedness.


Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration

(29 percent of workers furloughed)


Services and Programs that have ceased:

·         Packers and Stockyards Program (PSP)

·         All compliance, standardization and methods development

·         international monitoring activities conducted by Federal Grain Inspection Service


Services and Programs that remain operational (paid all or in part by user fees):

·         Grain Inspection and Weighing

·         Rice and Commodity Inspections

·         Administrative & Program Support



Natural Resource Conservation Service

(all but 148 workers furloughed)


Services and Programs that are operational:

·         Provide oversight to on-going Emergency Watershed projects (CO Fires, Floods, etc.) (1 person)

·         Provide state level oversight to on-going Emergency Watershed projects (CO Fires, Floods, etc.) on identified projects that will continue through furlough to protect life and property (includes Engineers, Construction Inspectors, Contracting Specialist, etc.) (75 employees

·         Conduct needed activities to protect life and property in relation to NRCS’s approximately 12,000 small watershed dams (20 people)

·         Maintain Federal property and mission-critical and plant stock viability at plant materials centers. (26 people, 14 on-call; 754 hours max through October)


Rural Development

(99 percent of workers expected to be furloughed)


Rural Development identified Services and Programs that should be excepted, including:

·         Processing nightly updates for each RD financial system to include daily cash remittances and disbursements. Remittances represent funds returned to the Federal Government and should not be delayed. This effort will include:

·         Balancing and reconciling all RD loans, as well as those Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans on two financial systems (GLS and PLAS) that are shared between RD and FSA.

·         Ensuring that front-end applications, such as Management Agent Interactive Network Connection, RD Utility Program Customer Initiated Payments, Lender Interactive Network Connection, and GLS remain available for borrower/lender cash remittances.

•        Advancing funds from time to time for the purpose of protecting and preserving RD assets; e.g., placing protective bids at foreclosure sales to ensure that RD’s loan collateral is not lost and paying for critical repairs necessary to preserve such property.

•        Ensuring that RD performs its fiduciary responsibilities in accounting for and processing customers’ funds, such as loan escrow accounts, in an accurate and timely manner. This will help RD avoid creating unnecessary hardships for our customers and litigative risks for RD by processing escrowed funds to pay insurance and tax payments on time, thus reducing the probability of insurance policy cancellations and tax penalties being assessed.


Services and Programs that have ceased:

•        No additional loans/grants would be available during the period except for emergency purposes and to protect the Government’s interest. System generated disbursements for previously obligated Rental Assistance (RA) funds will continue.

•        No new RD rural housing loans or guarantees would be issued, which would result in a setback in construction start-up, as well as a potentially costly inconvenience to buyers and sellers depending on a Single Family Housing loan or guaranteed loan closing. A more permanent interruption in the program would cause a substantial reduction in housing available in rural areas relative to population.

•        New and expanding businesses would be unable to access loan guarantees to create new jobs and save existing jobs and with them, the potential taxpayers who would hold those jobs.

•        No loans or assistance for essential community facilities would be made, delaying the financing of health care, emergency response, and other essential services to rural communities. Projects already financed that are under construction would be delayed in having any bridge financing replaced with permanent financing from USDA. A long-term shut-down would place RD seriously behind in our mission of improving quality of life and economic opportunity in rural areas with limited income. The current community facility loan program is one of the very few sources of financing for essential community facilities in rural areas.

•        No loans or advances would be made or issued for modernizing rural America’s electric and telecommunications infrastructure. Borrowers would not be able to improve service, meet Federal Communication Commission deadlines, or pay off short-term bridge loans. No advances would be issued to pay invoices on construction contracts, which could result in defaults on contracts and increase construction costs. Ultimately, this could lead to RD loan security problems.



(93 percent of workers furloughed)


If there is an imminent threat to human life or protection of property, a limited number of employees may be recalled from furlough status.


Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) 

(1 Excepted employee, 1 PAS)


•        Invests in clean energy technologies.

•        Operates 10 energy programs: biomass, building technologies, Federal energy management, geothermal technologies, fuel cell technologies, advanced manufacturing, solar energy technologies, vehicle technologies, wind and water power, and weatherization and intergovernmental program.

•        Responsible for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the nation's primary laboratory for research and development into energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.


Office of Fossil Energy (FE) 

(1 Excepted employee)


Responsible for oversight of fossil energy research and development programs (encompassing coal, oil, and natural gas). In the event of a lapse of appropriations and the exhaustion of available balances, a small staff would be in place related to the protection of property.


FE also has responsibility for a number of other facilities:

•        National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) (4 Excepted employees); U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserves (11 Excepted employees); and the Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center (RMOTC) (2 Excepted employees).


Office of Environmental Management (EM) 

(4 Excepted employees)


•        Responsible for environmental restoration as a result of Cold War activities, waste management, stabilization/disposition of special nuclear materials, technology development, and facility transition and management.

•        Tasked with solving the large scale, technically challenging risks, and hazardous conditions posed by the world's largest nuclear cleanup located at 17 sites covering more than two million acres in 11 states.

•        EM also has responsibility for a number of other facilities:

Richland (5 Excepted employees); West Valley Demonstration Project (4 Excepted employees); Office of River Protection (3 Excepted employees); Consolidated Business Center (CBC) (3 Excepted employees); Savannah River Operations Office (8 Excepted employees); Carlsbad Field Office (4 Excepted employees); Portsmouth Paducah Project Office (8 Excepted employees), Idaho (4 Excepted employees),  Energy Technology Engineering Center (1 Excepted employee), SPRU (3 Excepted employees), Oak Ridge (2 Excepted employees); MOAB (small sites) (2 Excepted employees); and Los Alamos (2 Excepted employees).


National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) 

(343 Excepted employees; 2 PAS)


•        Responsible for the management and security of the nation's nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation, and naval reactor programs.

•        Responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the United States and abroad.

•        Transports nuclear weapons and components and special nuclear material

•        Responsible for several DOE laboratories and naval reactor facilities:

Livermore Site Office (10 Excepted employees), Los Alamos Site Office (2 Excepted employees), Sandia Site Office (1 Excepted employees), Kansas City Site Office (1 Excepted employees), Nevada Site Office (0 Excepted employees), Savannah River Site Office (1 Excepted employees), NNSA Production Office (4 Excepted employees), Naval Reactors (140 Excepted employees).


Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) 

(2 Excepted employees, 1 PAS)


•        Responsible for advancing nuclear power as a resource capable of meeting the Nation's energy, environmental, and national security needs.

•        Performs several mission-related functions including providing: international engagement in support of the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear energy as well as support to other DOE offices and other federal agencies on issues related to the international use of civilian nuclear energy; supporting the development of and furnishing nuclear power systems for use in national security and space exploration missions; oversight for specifically assigned front-end fuel cycle responsibilities.

•        Oversees the Idaho National Laboratory.

•        Responsible for the DOE Idaho Operations Office (3 Excepted employees).


Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) 

(0 Excepted employees; 1 PAS)


•        Responsible for leading the Department’s efforts to help ensure that the Nation's electricity delivery system is secure, resilient and reliable

•        Facilitates the creation, advancement and deployment of the "next generation" technologies

•        Provides expertise on the structure and makeup of the electricity sector and the interpretation of proposed policies and rulemakings that may potentially affect it.

•        Serves as DOE's staff liaison with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

•        Works in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security to help secure the Nation's energy infrastructure against attack and natural disasters and to facilitate repairs and restoration when it is damaged or services are disrupted.


Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) 

(332 Excepted employees)


Markets and delivers hydroelectric power and related services within a 15-state region (North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma, Arizona, Nevada and California) carrying electricity from 57 power plants.


Services and Programs that remain operational:

•        Perform functions related to the safety of human life and the protection of property.

•        Continue to supervise construction projects (financed by other than annual appropriations) (3 excepted) control and direct power to utilities, transmission or power, and repair of the power transmission system.


Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board

(0 percent of workers furloughed)


Public Law 100-203, section 5051, the 1987 amendments to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, authorizes appropriations from the Nuclear Waste Fund to support the Board and its activities.  Appropriation acts, including Public Law 111–85, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2010, direct that funds for the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board “are to be derived from the Nuclear Waste Fund, and to remain available until expended." In line with the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel August 16, 1995 Memorandum Opinion for the Director Office of Management and Budget, and on the basis of the availability of the Board’s indefinite funds, it is the Board’s policy that during a funding hiatus resulting in a general government shutdown, the Board will continue routine operations as long as Board funds are available and there is no legal constraint on their use.


A Contingency Plan describes the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board’s (Board) plan to shut down should there be no remaining funds from prior years, no new appropriation and the absence of a continuing resolution.




UPDATE: NRC reduced its workforce to 8 percent on October 9  

Continuation of Excepted Functions


The functions described below represent excepted activities during an initial shutdown.


Depending upon the circumstances of any events that may occur during restricted NRC operations, exceptions to perform additional activities may be made. Additionally, given the highly specialized nature of much of the NRC work, if an emergent issue arises where the excepted staff on duty do not have the technical expertise to address the situation, the NRC will call back relevant staff on an “as-needed” basis. In this case, the staff person will become excepted until the problem is resolved.


•        Event Notification.  Maintain readiness to accept notification calls regarding emergencies related to nuclear reactors or materials licensees.

•        Emergency Response.  Perform early actions to activate Emergency Operations Centers and provide prompt analysis and advice to licensees and State decision makers. Includes incident response teams when called in for an event.

•        Site Operations.  Maintain capability to send a team of experts to an emergency operations facility in the vicinity of an accident during the first hours following a major reactor incident.

•        Resident Inspectors.  Maintain resident inspection function.

•        Enforcement.  Maintain the capability to issue Enforcement Orders to modify, suspend, or revoke licenses, or require specific actions by licensees or other persons.

•        Allegations/Investigations.  Maintain the capability to receive and respond to stakeholders and public concerns and the ability to investigate possible wrongdoing matters as necessary.

•        Facility and Nuclear Reactor Security and Safeguards.  Maintain capability to process pressurized-water reactor and boiling-water reactor emergency licensing actions.

•        Facility and Nuclear Materials Security and Safeguards.  Assure the continued maintenance by licensees of security and safeguards programs at licensed facilities and for nuclear materials, including safeguards threat assessments and emergency licensing actions.

•        Commissioners.  NRC’s Commissioners are not subject to furlough because they are appointed by the President. Therefore, NRC Commissioners are excepted on a basis other than the Antideficiency Act’s exception for imminent threats to the safety of human life or the protection of property.

•        Policy Direction.  Maintain Commission policy direction, including limited staff support for the Commission and the Executive Director for Operations, to facilitate the orderly shutdown of agency operations and to perform excepted functions.

•        Legal Advice.  Continue to provide legal assistance necessary for the Commission to perform excepted functions.

•        State Liaison.  Maintain liaison with States concerning the Agreement States materials licensing program and the radiological incident emergency planning program to perform excepted functions.

•        International Liaison.  Maintain liaison with the U.S. Government and foreign nations with respect to export/import licensing, international safeguards and intelligence activities, and health, safety, and environmental issues to perform excepted functions.

•        Public Affairs.  Maintain capability to inform the public quickly in the case of emergencies related to nuclear reactors or materials licensees.

•        Congressional Liaison.  Maintain capability to monitor progress of appropriations legislation and to provide support to Congress as required.

•        Inspector General.  Maintain Office of the Inspector General (OIG) policy direction, the OIG Hotline, limited administrative functions, and legal assistance to support excepted functions.   As necessary, provide support for ongoing trials, undercover operations, or other activities relating to the imminent preservation of life or property. The Inspector General is a Presidential appointee and is excepted from furlough.

•        Financial Management.  Maintain Office of the Chief Financial Officer financial policy direction and limited financial support services to support excepted functions. Examples of this support include travel services, payroll services, and funds certification.

•        Administrative and Information Technology Support.  Maintain limited administrative and information technology support services to facilitate the orderly shutdown of agency operations and to support excepted functions. Examples of this support include limited activities in the areas of building operations, security, mail, contracts, computer network control, records storage and retrieval, and automated data processing hardware and software maintenance.

•        Human Resources.  Maintain limited human resources services to facilitate the orderly shutdown of agency operations and to support excepted functions to include processing of the furlough, providing guidance to employees on pay, leave, insurance, appeal rights, and possible unemployment compensation; serving as management liaison with NTEU, handling employee appeals, and providing employee assistance services.



U. S. Department of TRANSPORTATION


Federal Highway Administration

(0 percent of workers furloughed)


•        All operations continue as normal during a lapse in annual appropriations


Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

(0 percent of workers furloughed)


•        All operations continue as normal during a lapse in annual appropriations


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

(56 percent of workers furloughed)


Services and Programs that have ceased:

·         Vehicle Safety activities, including rulemaking, enforcement, research, data analysis, and consumer testing programs.

·         Important rulemakings, including those with Congressional deadlines, would be delayed.

·         New car assessment testing and related star ratings to consumers may be delayed.

·         Defects investigations would be suspended and incoming information on possible defects from manufacturers and consumers would not be reviewed.

·         Compliance testing of vehicles and equipment would be delayed.

·         Vehicle safety research on important subjects (e.g., crash avoidance technologies, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, occupant protection, alcohol detection) would be delayed.

·         National Driver Register (NDR) program operations.

·         Delayed distribution of the FY 2014 Highway Safety Grant funds.

·         Routine defects and recall information from manufacturers and consumers would not be reviewed.


Services and Programs that remain operational:

·         NHTSA Highway Safety Research & Development activities continue (e.g., occupant protection, alcohol, motorcycles).


Federal Transit Administration

(95 percent of workers furloughed)


Services and programs that have ceased:

·         No grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, purchase orders, travel authorizations, or other documents obligating funds would be executed.

·         FTA will not obligate grant funds for projects carried out by approximately 1,300 grantees throughout the country.

·         For projects under development, FTA staff will not carry out environmental, legal, civil rights, and other reviews essential for advancing projects to the point of obligation, since these are not related to immediate issues of life and safety.

·         FTA will not make grant payments using FTA’s Financial Management Systems or vendor payments to contractors using the DELPHI accounting systems regardless of the fiscal year cited since appropriations would not be available to pay the salaries of the staff certifying and executing the payments.

·         FTA will not obligate or outlay funds for research and technical assistance activities because appropriations would not be available to pay the salaries of the staff executing the payments.


Services and Programs that remain operational:

·         In the absence of appropriations, limited functions funded from prior year appropriations continue. These include Hurricane Sandy activities funded from the 2013 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act (21 positions) and activities in the Lower Manhattan Recovery Office (3 positions) funded by emergency supplemental appropriations after 9/11.

·         FTA has 4 excepted positions to perform life and safety activities authorized in MAP-21 and oversee the lawful continuation of other functions.

·         Program oversight activities continue but only with funds provided by prior year appropriations. Most oversight activities are performed by contractors.


Federal Railroad Administration

(53 percent of workers furloughed)


Services and Programs that have ceased:

·         All activities assigned to the Office of Railroad Policy and Development (RPD). This includes the high-speed rail initiative. RPD is also the primary grantor of operating, capital and debt service grant payments to Amtrak.

·         All grant and financial assistance activities are suspended. This includes: technical assistance to grantees and partners, grant obligations and payments to states, Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan payments and (2) all activities related to the intake, processing and evaluation of grant applications previously submitted to FRA.


Services and Programs that remain operational:

·         All rail accident/incident investigations across the country

·         Continuous inspector presence on railroad property


Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

(62 percent of workers furloughed)


Services and Programs that have ceased:

·         Strategic Planning and Program Evaluation

·         Public Affairs

·         Civil Rights

·         Pipeline Program Development

·         Pipeline Standards and Rulemaking

·         Pipeline Engineering and Research

·         Pipeline State Programs (Grants)

·         Pipeline Enforcement Policy, Procedures and Guidance

·         Pipeline Training and Qualifications

·         Emergency Response Planning and Drills

·         Hazardous Materials Program Development

·         Hazardous Materials Standards and Rulemaking

·         Hazardous Materials Engineering and Research

·         Hazardous Materials Approvals and Permits (except for emergency)

·         Hazardous Materials Outreach, Training and Grants

·         Hazardous Materials Special Investigations

·         Hazardous Materials Training and Qualifications

·         Legal Services and Representation

·         Regulatory Analysis and Planning

·         Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Processing

·         Budget and Financial Planning and Operations (except those related to protection of life and property)

·         Acquisition Services

·         Human Resources (except for those related to executing the orderly shutdown) Office of the CFO September 27, 2013 Page | 19

·         Information Resources Management

·         Administrative Services


Services and Programs that remain operational:

·         Investigations of pipeline accidents to determine the causes and circumstances of failure, the need for corrective action, and any non-compliance that might have contributed to the accident.

·         Inspections of pipeline operators and systems to determine compliance with the pipeline safety regulations.

·         Enforcement of the pipeline safety regulations through corrective action orders, notices of probable violations and letters of warning.

·         Investigations of hazardous materials accidents to determine the causes and circumstances of failure, the need for corrective action, and any non-compliance that might have contributed to the accident.

·         Inspections of hazardous materials shippers, carriers, testing facilities and cylinder reconditioning facilities to determine compliance with the hazardous materials safety regulations.

·         Enforcement of the hazardous materials safety regulations through the issuance of tickets or development of evidence for civil and criminal penalty actions.

·         Hazardous Materials approvals and permits for emergencies affecting the safety of life and property only.


Surface Transportation Board

(98 percent of workers furloughed)


Services and Programs that have ceased:

·         Receipt of filings and pleadings.

·         Case processing.

·         Suspension of procedural schedules and decisional activities.

·         Oral arguments and voting conferences.

·         Data collection and analysis.

·         Tariff filings.

·         Recordation filings and access by public.

·         Site visits, meetings with local/State Government parties, and public hearings.

·         Litigation and court appearances. Office of the CFO September 27, 2013 Page | 28

·         Consumer hotline and responses to public inquiries.

·         Congressional support and responses to Congressional inquiries.

·         All administrative support activities.