Politics

Federal documents reveal extent of national park damage during monthlong Trump shutdown

We’re going to be repairing the damage done by Trump‘s shutdown for, literally, years. Federal workers who could not pay their bills after the administration nixed their paychecks will be facing new credit problems, while those that took on short-term loans to get through the month are now obliged to pay them back with interest.

In our national parks the damage is not just financial, but physical. A ThinkProgress article examines government reports of the damage in Death Valley National Park, and it is wide-ranging. It includes:

• 20 tons of trash to be cleaned up, not including other trash that was scattered by desert winds or park wildlife during the shutdown.

• A minimum of “1,665 clumps of toilet paper and 429 piles of human feces,” totaling more than 1,000 pounds.

• Illegal off-roading on sensitive desert soils has left tracks that “can take years or decades to heal, if ever.”

• More than $600,000 in lost revenues.

Even though garbage collection and restroom maintenance were both halted during the shutdown, the park attempted to remain open, closing off individual sites after damage occurred or the amount of scattered human feces was deemed “excessive.” The efforts to remain open cost another $115,000 in entrance fees that would otherwise have been reserved for future restoration and repair.

And again, it was all pointless. Trump refused efforts to keep the government open with a new post-election demand that his personal pet project, a border “wall,” be funded to the tune of billions after a Republican-led government brushed aside those requests for nearly two solid years.


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