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The Only National Park Site Reopening Amid Shutdown Is in a Trump Hotel
By Julia Conley
While 380,000 federal employees have been out of work on furlough for 12 days and 420,000 more are working without pay due to the government shutdown, the General Services Administration has reportedly found the funding to reopen the Old Post Office tower in Washington, DC, which shares a building with President Donald Trump's hotel.
Although the government shutdown is expected to continue into next week at least, the tower is set to reopen by the end of this week, according to a report by E&E News.
Considering the president's financial interest in ensuring the tower remains open, Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) executive director Noah Bookbinder said Wednesday that the reopening "raises all manner of conflict of interest questions."
The tower, which is operated by the National Parks Service (NPS), is part of a building now run by the Trump Organization. The historic Old Post Office was restored and turned into the Trump International Hotel in 2013.
The hotel has been the subject of lawsuits and numerous complaints by government watchdog groups since Trump took office in 2017, as numerous foreign heads of state have stayed there, likely violating the Constitution's emoluments clause which forbids the president from accepting payments from foreign governments.
Now, amid reports that national parks across the country have become overrun by garbage, human waste and damaging illegal behavior on protected lands, the tower site alone will reopen to the public.
It's unclear whether the Trump administration intervened directly to reopen the tower—but critics and government watchdogs regarded the development as another possible example of the president's self-serving actions, placing the profits of his businesses ahead of the public interest.
"The Trump administration is using your tax dollars to keep an NPS site at his luxury hotel open while the rest of Americans are wading through garbage and locked gates," wrote Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) on Twitter. "The corruption and disgrace of this government are without bottom."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jake Johnson
According to the new research, published in the journal Nature Communications, melting permafrost caused by accelerating Arctic warming would add close to $70 trillion to the overall economic impact of climate change if the planet warms by 3°C by 2100.
The New York City Council on Thursday overwhelmingly passed one of the most ambitious and innovative legislative packages ever considered by any major city to combat the existential threat of climate change.
Earth Day 2019 just passed, but planning has already begun for Earth Day 2020, and it's going to be a big deal.
Is your closet filled with clothes you don't wear (and probably don't like anymore)? Are you buying cheap and trendy clothing you only wear once or twice? What's up with all the excess? Shifting to a more Earth-conscious wardrobe can help simplify your life, as well as curb fast fashion's toll on people and the planet.