Despite the shutdown of the federal government, all of the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports should be released on schedule this week and next, the agency said Tuesday. FERC also was conducting business as usual Tuesday for an unspecified time until its reserve funds run out. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) had only key personnel continuing to work.
The EIA actually has funding that is not tied to the fiscal year budget, and as a result can operate until Oct. 11, said EIA spokesman Jonathan Cogan. “Hopefully it [the stalemate] will be resolved by then.
“It is premature to speculate on EIA operations in the event that a continuing resolution is not enacted by the end of next week. Once no-year appropriation balances available to EIA are exhausted [after Oct. 11], EIA staff would be furloughed and operations would be shut down. Should furloughs become necessary, staff cannot work voluntarily or be required to work. Also, Congress would need to take affirmative action to authorize pay for staff who are furloughed.”
After issuing a plan Monday to furlough all but a skeleton crew (see Daily GPI, Oct. 1), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said Tuesday it was staying in business until further notice. The announcement said FERC would continue normal business operations and normal business hours.”We don’t know how long the funds will last. We’re open for business as usual now. When the funds run out, then only excepted employees will remain.” FERC is a self-funding agency with money for its operations coming from fees on parties it regulates.
FERC had said on Monday it had a plan to furlough the majority of its approximately 1,500 employees in the event of a shutdown, keeping just 53 employees, including the five Commissioners, and 19 contractors, on board. Those employees would continue to inspect liquefied natural gas projects, monitor energy markets for manipulation or other violations of Commission rules and potential threats to energy infrastructure. The mass furloughs, however, were put off until further notice.
The CFTC stuck with its plan to keep just 28 of its 680 employees occupied during the shutdown that began at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. Their job will be to maintain “a bare minimum level of oversight and surveillance of the futures markets, clearing operations, and intermediaries. However, the vast bulk of the CFTC’s oversight and surveillance functions will cease during a lapse of appropriations.”
Hours before the shutdown became official, a coalition of 251 organizations, including the American Gas Association and Petroleum Marketers Association of America, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, urged the Senate and House of Representatives to pass a Continuing Resolution to ensure uninterrupted funding of the federal government and to raise the nation’s debt limit.
“It is not in the best interest of the employers, employees or the American people to risk a government shutdown that will be economically disruptive and create even more uncertainties for the U.S. economy,” the coalition said in a letter to the lawmakers.
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