The government shutdown that enters a record 22 days in length Saturday is not just a concern for the employees who are not receiving pay checks. People counting on the work those employees normally do are concerned, as well.
The closed Lane Plating Company site on Bonnie View Road is an EPA Superfund site. The EPA is responsible for overseeing a contamination cleanup at the location that’s near homes and a creek.
Activist Olinka Green said longtime residents never worried about the site in the past.
“We passed by. I've been here since 1973. We did not know anything,” she said.
Furloughed EPA employees who could be working on the issue held a demonstration at Dallas EPA headquarters Thursday.
“We want to support human health and the environment,” employee Rita Ware said. “We want to promote clean air, clean water, clean lands. We can't do that if we're out.”
Dallas City Council Member Tennell Atkins said there is no evidence that city drinking water is contaminated. He said city officials are working to see that the site is dealt with properly, even if the EPA is closed.
Aaron Renaud, a paralegal with Legal Aid of North West Texas, said the EPA was to have a community involvement plan ready for the Lane Plating site last year.
“Furthermore, they had planned in January to begin field testing so we can determine how bad the situation is,” Renaud said. “Every day that their closed is another day that the situation is not being resolved and the site is not being cleaned up.
As the EPA shutdown continues, activist Olikna Green is organizing a bottled water distribution for neighbors, regardless of testing that shows city water is fine.
“We're counting on them to do their job and because of the shutdown, everything is at a standstill,” Green said.
The activists said many other tasks are waiting for the EPA in North Texas and they hope EPA workers will be back on the job soon.