The Trump administration instructed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to freeze all its grant spending, according to an unnamed agency source.
EPA stopped handing out grants for projects and research on global warming, air quality monitoring and education, and the agency instructed employees not to discuss the spending freeze outside the agency, reports The Huffington Post.
“The Huffington Post also received a message that was reportedly sent to staff Monday that seems to cover the current agency guidance on talking to the press in general, not just about the directive on grants,” wrote HuffPo senior reporter Kate Sheppard. “The memo states that the agency is imposing tight controls on external communication, including press releases, blog posts, social media and content on the agency website.”
HuffPo claims its source is an EPA staffer who remained anonymous to avoid retaliation. ProPublica later confirmed the spending freeze with transition officials, describing it as a “holding pattern.”
Trump nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has battled the EPA numerous times in court, to head the agency. A leaked memo from Trump’s transition team indicates that the administration plans $513 million in cuts to the “states and tribal assistance grants,” $193 million from eliminating agency global warming programs and another $109 million in savings cutting “environment programs and management.”
Part of the spending freeze will affect the $10.8 million the EPA spends training teachers on the fundamentals of “environmental education.”