Government Shutdown Affects More Than Jobs

American Geophysical Union Responds to Government Shutdown’s Impact on Scientists and R&D

1 October 2013

Washington, D.C.—The following statement is attributable to American Geophysical Union (AGU) executive director/CEO Christine McEntee:

“Science is essential to our economic stability, public health, and national security. It often represents the first line of defense against droughts, earthquakes, volcanos, and other natural hazards, and it allows us to make best use of the natural resources and mineral wealth that underpin our standard of living. Science-based products and services provided by government agencies support and protect millions of jobs nationwide.

For example, while monitoring infrastructure such as LandSAT satellites and the USGS stream gauge network will continue to collect data about the surface of the Earth, as a result of the shutdown no one will be there to analyze them and make them available to the public.

This means that farmers who rely on LandSAT data may have trouble determining the stress level of their crops, and communities in floodplains are at risk of flooding without the effective warning time usually provided by stream gauges. It also means that important public health information, such as water quality data, will not be analyzed or disseminated to the public.

And, if the shutdown lasts longer than 24 hours, government-owned research vessels may have to return to port, wasting significant time and money when they have to be redeployed.

Not only will the shutdown have an impact on the jobs of hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide, including tens of thousands of scientists, it comes at the cost of programs designed to keep Americans safe and support our global competitiveness. This stalemate must end before irrevocable damage is done.”

The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing more than 62,000 members in 144 countries. Join our conversation on FacebookTwitter, YouTube, and other social media channels.

Contact: Joan Buhrman, +1 202 777 7509, JBuhrman@agu.org