Energy & Environment

EPA freezes grant programs: reports

President Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has frozen its grant programs, according to multiple reports.

EPA grants, which fund among other things cleanup of toxic sites, air quality monitoring, water quality testing, have been halted and EPA staff has been told not to discuss the order, the Huffington Post reported.

Myron Ebell, who ran the EPA transition for Trump, confirmed the "basics of the freeze" to ProPublica Monday night.

"They're trying to freeze things to make sure nothing happens they don't want to have happen, so any regulations going forward, contracts, grants, hires, they want to make sure to look at them first," Ebell said.

It's unclear whether the freeze is indefinite or temporary as the agency transitions to new leadership under Trump nominee Scott Pruitt.

"This may be a little wider than some previous administrations, but it's very similar to what others have done," Ebell added.

In an email exchange obtained by ProPublica, an EPA contracting officer wrote in a message to a storm water management employee, "Right now we are in a holding pattern. The new EPA administration has asked that all contract and grant awards be temporarily suspended, effective immediately. Until we receive further clarification, this includes task orders and work assignments."

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