Trump Puts Some Furloughed Employees Back to Work – Well, the Oil and Gas Permit Approvers

Here’s a hypothetical for you: if the government shutdown is to continue indefinitely but you had the power to send one sector of federal employees back to work for the good of the nation, which would you choose?

Did I hear you say, “the people who approve drilling applications!”? I doubt you did, but that’s too bad, because that’s precisely what the Trump administration is doing. Breaking from normal shutdown precedent, the White House has decided it’s important to get those oil and gas permits at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) going again, sending pertinent workers back to their jobs.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean the BLM is open for other business. Oddly, the Bureau with a stated mission to “sustain the health, diversity and productivity of public lands for the use of present and feature generations,” is prioritizing the very activity that’s liable to make our land less healthy and enjoyable.

Case in point, Jeremy Nichols of conservation group WildEarth Guardians explains, “We interact with BLM on a regular basis, and we cannot interact with them right now – they won’t answer their phones, they’re not in their offices. How is it the oil and gas industry is reaching them? We’re getting nothing but silence from the bureau, and the oil and gas industry is apparently getting 100 percent of their attention.”

Some groups like WildEarth Guardians and New Mexico Wilderness Alliance are questioning the legality of this since furloughed workers aren’t supposed to have to show up for their jobs unless it “involve[s] the safety of human life or the protection of property,” which doesn’t seem to fit. It may further be illegal since these permits seem to be issued without required environmental reviews.

US News & World Report floats the idea that BLM may be getting around the rules by compensating these particular workers (rather than making them work without pay) with money collected from oil and gas permit fees. Still, if you’re choosing to pay these workers with incoming or saved revenue over so many others, it’s a bad look.

The oil and gas industry has been publicly whining about how the shutdown has delayed some of their projects and applications, so it’s not particularly surprising that the same administration that has bent over backwards to appease these corporations in other ways would tweak if not outright break the furlough rules to serve them further.

How telling is it, though, that even while so many people are having to go without during the shutdown, the Trump administration is making sure to provide for its fat cat friends? Money really does buy influence!

56 comments

Susanne R
Susanne R22 days ago

Our air-headed president is spending more money on the shutdown than the cost of his wall --which he promised would be paid for by the Mexican government. The shutdown is his. He proudly claimed responsibility for it on national television. There's no denying it.

Wearing a MAGA hat has not increased his I.Q. or kept him from lying. It just makes him look like a bigger fool than he already is.

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David F
David F24 days ago

The air headed Dems are spending more money on the shutdown than the wall cost, Democrat insanity.

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Jessica C
Jessica C25 days ago

hmmm

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Ruth S
Ruth S25 days ago

Thanks.

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Ruth S
Ruth S25 days ago

Thanks.

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Danuta W
Danuta W25 days ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Chad A
Chad Anderson26 days ago

Thank you.

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Shae Lee
Shae Lee26 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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David C
David C26 days ago

thanks

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Olivia M
Past Member 26 days ago

thanks for posting

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