The Associated Press is now confirming The Trump Administration’s freeze on new Environmental Protection Agency Contracts and grant awards as well as a communications blackout. AP says the EPA has also begun the first step toward potentially killing at least 30 environmental rules implemented by the Obama administration, including pollution rulings, renewable fuel standards and limits on formaldehyde. Some states, including Michigan, could lose essential funding for drinking water protection. But since the EPA has been ordered not to speak to the press, no one can get specifics on what the grant freezes will mean.
Great Lakes Now has called EPA offices across the country, including Region 5 in the Midwest and in Washington D.C. No one in any EPA agency GLN contacted will respond to our requests for interviews.
Meanwhile, U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) and Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI 5th District) sent a letter to President Trump urging him not to jeopardize federal funding for Flint.
The lawmakers wrote, “We are concerned that your directive to halt all EPA grants and agreements may jeopardize much-needed federal funding, already passed by Congress, from quickly and directly reaching Flint families recovering from this crisis.” No response from the Trump administration so far.
Great Lakes Now will update this story as developments occur.
Ann Rowan, Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5 provided the following response:
Re contracts and grants:
EPA staff have been reviewing grants and contracts information with the incoming transition team. Pursuant to that review, the Agency is continuing to award the environmental program grants and state revolving loan fund grants to the states and tribes; and we are working to quickly address issues related to other categories of grants. The goal is to complete the grants and contracts review by the close of business on Friday, Jan. 27. The temporary pause on some EPA contracts and grants is not expected to apply to Superfund cleanup efforts that are underway.
The EPA fully intends to continue to provide information to the public. A fresh look at public affairs and communications processes is common practice for any new Administration, and a short pause in activities allows for this assessment.