WASHINGTON, D.C. – Concerned that a prolonged government shutdown could do long-term harm to the U.S. economy, SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch today issued the following statement:
“As an industry organization representing 120,000 workers – and as Americans concerned about our nation’s future – we are deeply disappointed that Congress has failed to avoid a government shutdown. With the U.S. economy still struggling to regain its footing and unemployment unacceptably high, a prolonged shutdown could be disruptive to the U.S. economy and hamper future growth. SEIA strongly urges Congressional leaders to call an immediate truce, return to work and resume negotiations on plan that will fund the government while helping to get our economy back on track. Too much is at stake for this effort to fail.”
With the government shutting down at midnight, here are some of the impacts on America’s solar energy industry:
- The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) solar permitting activities are on hold until an appropriations bill is signed into law. Construction of solar projects under an existing right-of-way grant may proceed as usual, unless that construction may result in damage to governmental property or may cause a threat to safety.
- If the shutdown is short-lived, the Department of Energy (DOE) expects to continue operating as usual, because it has funds from prior years that it can use to pay for salaries and contracts. However, DOE warns that a “prolonged lapse in appropriations” will require many employees to be furloughed. For the time being, though, the Solar Program, the Loan Program Office and the national labs will continue operating.
- Like DOE, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has funding available from prior years to temporarily continue its normal operations and has published a notice to that effect. If the shutdown lasts longer than FERC has money to pay salaries, FERC will notify the public that most of its operations will pause. In that event, the Commissioners will still be available to vote on orders that require Commission action, but new filings and public comments will not be accepted. Deadlines and due dates will be adjusted accordingly.
- At the Treasury Department, all 1603 Program office personnel have been furloughed. No 1603 grants will be issued during the shutdown. The 1603 Program online application system will remain open and allow certain changes and updates to project status.
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.
Ken Johnson, SEIA Vice President of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org (202) 556-2885