The Environmental Protection Agency would furlough about 94 percent of its roughly 16,000-member workforce during a shutdown this year, according to the agency’s contingency plan.
About 5.6 percent of the employees would qualify as either “excepted” or “exempted,” meaning they would remain on the job. However, some of the excepted employees could work as little as one hour a day — whatever it takes to fulfill their tasks.
In general, “excepted” employees are those whose duties are “essential activities to the extent that they protect life and property,” according to past guidance from the Office of Management and Budget.
“Exempt” employees are those who are funded with unexpired congressional appropriations or through fees and payments that their agency’s collect.
Below is a breakdown of the EPA workers who would not be furloughed under a shutdown:
* Excepted: 613 employees, including 162 who qualify because they are “engaged in military, law enforcement or direct provision of health-care activities.
* Exempt: 294 workers whose pay is financed by a resource other than annual appropriations.
The EPA plan provides some specific examples of the agency’s excepted roles, which include certain positions associated with so-called superfund toxic-waste sites, where “failure to maintain operations would pose an imminent threat to human life.”
Other excepted employees would include some of the lab workers who help oversee controlled environments such as freezers and those who take care of lab animals, plants and other “unique test organisms.”
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