With Republicans’ refusal to negotiate a full budget bringing Washington to the brink of a fiscal cliff, the consequences of a government shutdown would be immense for Washington kids, families, and communities.

Republican leaders like Sen. Mark Schoesler of Ritzville and Sen. John Braun of Centralia are taking a hard line that would shut down parks across the state and in their own districts. Among the parks that would close over the 4th of July weekend under a government shutdown would be the Palouse Falls State Park in Schoesler’s district (the home of the official state waterfall) and the Ike Kinswa, Lewis and Clark, and Seaquest State Parks along with the Mount Saint Helens Silver Lake Visitor Center in Braun’s district. The closure of these parks would not only hurt constituents of Schoesler and Braun who go to the parks for recreation, but also small businesses in the area who rely on tourism dollars coming into the local economy.

Major impacts would be felt on the entire state parks system and critical environment protections. The closure of all of Washington State Parks would affect an estimated 1.4 million visitors, and 10,932 people who hold reservations for camping and other park uses over the first week of July are already being notified of potential cancellation of their family reunion, wedding, summer camp, or other trip or event. With law enforcement rangers at home instead of on patrol, parks will be open to vandalism, illegal fireworks, alcohol and drug-related problems, or other issues. And State Parks will lose an estimated $2 million in revenue from camping, overnight accommodations, Discover Pass and other use fees between June 30th and July 7th.

A government shutdown would also greatly impact environmental protections. The state will no longer conduct inspections of any types, including at Hanford, nor respond to spills of oil or toxic waste, nor respond to dam safety issues. Businesses who need environmental permits regarding wastewater, water rights, air emissions, or environmental impact statements, will be unable to get those permits. And the Department of Ecology’s 1,450 grant and loan recipients and contractors will be prohibited from using any state funds, including money for construction of wastewater treatment plant upgrades, habitat restoration projects and cleaning up toxic sites in communities.

“It’s appalling that the Republicans are still refusing to join the Democrats in passing a responsible budget that fully funds education and the essential state services that Washingtonians count on,” said Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski. “The Republicans’ brinksmanship around the fiscal cliff, risking a government shutdown just because they hate the idea of a rich person’s taxes going up to pay for schools, is wildly irresponsible. People are going to be hurt if Republicans keep this up.”