Dispatches from State LCVs, Part II: 28 Days In, Trump Shutdown Continues to Devastate Communities Across the Country

Jan 18, 2019

As we look ahead to a long weekend celebrating one of our country’s greatest civil rights leaders, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are still going without paychecks and our treasured national parks and monuments remain either closed or vulnerable to lasting damage. With the shutdown now the longest U.S. government closure in history, our state partners in the Conservation Voter Movement shared more stories of how their communities have been impacted by the Republican Senate and Donald Trump’s refusal to reopen the government. Find last week’s wrap up here.



“The country will honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on Monday, but the continued government shutdown means Alabama’s historic monuments to our civil rights leaders will be inaccessible. The interpretive centers along the route that took Dr. King and thousands of others from Selma to Montgomery are closed, as are the Tuskegee Institute and the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Sites. Our public lands support our environment, our economy, and our communities, and losing access can be devastating for Alabama’s rural areas.”

– Tammy Herrington, Executive Director of Conservation Alabama



“My family was visiting the United States for the first time, and on Christmas Day I wanted to show them Mount Charleston — one of my favorite outdoor spaces. My family was in awe of the beautiful landscapes but I was devastated when I saw the result of the government shut down. Many families came to enjoy the snow and left their water bottles and plastic wrappers next to overflowing trash cans, and sanitary facilities were full of waste with no park rangers or staff around to maintain the park.”

– Katherine Lorenzo, Senior Organizer for Chispa Nevada



“As Trump’s shutdown drags on, it continues to put Michigan families at risk. If the risky Line 5 oil pipeline were to rupture, the shutdown could severely slow down oil spill response time. Worse yet, the U.S. Coast Guard would not have access to NOAA’s predictive modeling to help understand the spread of oil through the especially volatile Straits of Mackinac. The Line 5 oil pipeline, operating 15 years past its engineered lifespan in the depths of winter, is truly a ticking time-bomb located in the worst possible place for an oil spill. Last spring, a ship anchor struck and dented the pipeline in multiple places, chipping away even more of the pipeline’s protective coating and raising concerns of a rupture. To protect our Great Lakes — the drinking water supply for 35 million people — we need our federal government reopened and focused on protecting our natural resources.”

– Lisa Wozniak, Executive Director of Michigan League of Conservation Voters



“New Jersey is called the Garden State for a reason — our farmers are part of the backbone of our communities. We are fortunate that the Department of Agriculture NRCS said it will time and date stamp any reports they receive so when the government reopens farmers won’t have missed important reporting deadlines, such as crop loss or acreage reporting. But this time of year is so critical for farmers who, because of Trump’s political stunt, cannot apply for government loans or receive support through the federal government. Although the USDA guaranteed food and nutrition assistance through the end of February, it is uncertain if that can extend into March. If the Trump shutdown drags on, it could get a lot tougher for farmers and food security. While we are proud of the work everyday citizens are doing — many New Jersey restaurants and bakeries are offering free food to furloughed government employees — they shouldn’t have to. New Jersey’s clean water, clean air, and public health were already suffering under the Trump administration, and this unnecessary shutdown is only hurting our families and businesses even more. It’s time to do what’s best for our country and end this charade.”

– Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters



“Virginia’s economy is intrinsically tied to the federal government, as a state that houses much of the federal workforce and is home to multiple federal agencies and outposts. So at the same time that the Trump shutdown is harming our national parks and federal lands and halting important science and research aimed at protecting clean air and water in Virginia, it also has a ripple effect across our economy that is being felt at kitchen tables throughout the commonwealth. It’s time for this xenophobic, anti-American government shutdown to end, for our federal workforce and scientists to return to work, and for our public lands and parks to begin to heal.”

– Lee Francis, Deputy Director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters