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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 Zak Smith
It is pretty amazing that in this moment when the COVID-19 outbreak has much of the country holed up in their homes binging Netflix, the most watched show in America over the last few weeks has been focused on wildlife trade — which scientists believe is the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. Make no mistake: Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is about wildlife trade and other aspects of wildlife exploitation, just as surely as the appearance of Ebola, SARS, MERS, avian flu and probably COVID-19 in humans is a result of wildlife exploitation. As a conservationist, this is one of the things I've been thinking about while watching Tiger King. Here are five more:
By Hector Chapa
With the coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading, U.S. health officials have changed their advice on face masks and now recommend people wear cloth masks in public areas where social distancing can be difficult, such as grocery stores.
But can these masks be effective?
By Carey Gillam
Bayer AG is reneging on negotiated settlements with several U.S. law firms representing thousands of plaintiffs who claim exposure to Monsanto's Roundup herbicides caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, sources involved in the litigation said on Friday.
With many schools now closed due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, you may be looking for activities to keep your children active, engaged, and entertained.
Although numerous activities can keep kids busy, cooking is one of the best choices, as it's both fun and educational.
Germany's target for renewable energy sources to deliver 65% of its consumed electricity by 2030 seemed on track Wednesday, with 52% of electricity coming from renewables in 2020's first quarter. Renewable energy advocates, however, warned the trend is imperiled by slowdowns in building new wind and solar plants.