Trump administration lifts temporary freeze on EPA grants

By Brady Dennis, The Washington Post.

The Trump administration has lifted a temporary freeze on billions of dollars of grants from the Environmental Protection Agency, saying the programs will continue as planned.

An email sent late Friday from the EPA’s acting administrator, career official Catherine McCabe, informed staffers that officials had completed a review of the agency’s extensive list of grants and that all “are proceeding normally, and nothing has been delayed,” including revolving grants to states and Native American tribes.

McCabe also said that as officials keep reviewing outside contracts, the EPA will continue to employ contractors involved in maintaining agency infrastructure, implementing core environmental programs and supporting scientific research.

The news came more than a week after EPA employees were informed following President Trump’s inauguration that, “effective immediately,” all agency contracts and grants would temporarily be frozen.

According to its website, the EPA annually awards more than $4 billion in funding for grants and other assistance agreements. The temporary hold cast a cloud of uncertainty over those and caused widespread fears among scientists, state and local officials, universities and Native American tribes that often benefit from the grants.