Trump administration expands oil drilling despite shutdown. Interior department continues processing permits and moves forward with controversial plan to increase drilling in the Arctic. Weeks into the longest US government shutdown in history, many important government services have been paused – but the Trump administration has continued efforts to expand oil drilling.

Despite the shutdown directive, which has seen national park staff furloughed and the parks suffering from neglect, the interior department has continued processing oil drilling permits and applications. It has also moved forward with a controversial plan to increase drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A).

According to a “contingency plan” for an interior department agency, the Bureau of Land Management, approved last year, employees exempt from furloughs include those “working on selected energy, minerals and other associated permit activities for which the bureau charges a processing fee”.

As a result, workers in New Mexico and Wyoming have continued to process oil and gas drilling applications.

Read the full report from The Guardian.

oil drilling

Even as the government shutdown has halted key services, the interior department is continuing to process oil-drilling permits. Photograph: Nick Oxford/Reuters