What Gov't Shutdown Means for SRS and CSRA Economy - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

What Gov't Shutdown Means for SRS and CSRA Economy

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Aiken County, SC -

If the government does shutdown at 12:01 AM Tuesday, some are saying the CSRA could actually be one of the hardest hit in the country.  The reason:  Savannah River Site.

Each day more than 10,000 workers report to the site to earn a living; so what does it mean for those workers, their families, and the CSRA's economy if the government shuts down?

SRS is operated by the Department of Energy, one of the departments that would have to cut back to a bare bones structure if the government ever shut down.

We found a memo that the DOE posted Friday, as that shutdown moved from seemingly improbable to seemingly imminent,  and we searched for what it would mean for SRS. If a shutdown were to occur and DOE were to run out of money, they'd cut back to only exempt employees - those are ones necessary to "protect life and property."  So how many DOE employees would that mean for the 200,000 acres of SRS? Get this:

The memo from the DOE says the number of DOE employees at SRS would be...eight. We called up US Congressman Joe Wilson to get his response to that shocking number.

"My concern is, whatever the number is, it's a gruesome impact on families to be furloughed," Wilson says.

To put things into context that's the cutback for actual DOE employees.  Of the approximate 11,000 workers at the Savannah River Site now, only around 275 are actually DOE employees.  Most of the rest are contract workers whose contracts would end as projects were completed.

"The number can be speculative in terms of DOE, direct employees, contract employees," Wilson says, "but the bottom line is every effort should be made to avoid the shutdown."

A shutdown he says would cause CSRA families to unnecessarily suffer:

"I'm concerned because it affects families with a reduction in income that just shouldn't occur," Wilson says.

With a range of consequences across the country, Congressman Wilson says he wants other leaders in Washington to know how dire this is for the CSRA:

"There is a recognition for a unique loss of income because of SRS," he says.

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