SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Regional Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Mike Stoker is still on the job even though thousands of government workers are on the sidelines due to the current shutdown.
Stoker says he is primarily handling disaster response issues, a funded priority for Congress.
"All our emergency responders are working, they are exempted. All the people working the California fires, the emergency response disaster, FEMA mission assignments and the Pacific Islands for typhoon Yutu are working," said Stoker.
If there are other disaster emergencies he has the authority to activate personnel and respond to the public's needs.
Stoker is a former Santa Barbara County Supervisors and an attorney that has represented agricultural and energy interests.
He lives in Carpinteria.
He was appointed to this position last year and has offices in San Francisco.
The Region 9 area covers California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii along with the Pacific Islands and 148 tribes.
Stoker personally has visited disaster sites in his region since taking office including volcanic eruptions in Hawaii during his first week.
He says during the shutdown he has been making a plan to ramp back up with his staff as quickly as possible when they are funded again.
Stoker says there are numerous water and air issues to deal with in his region which has 50 million people.