The Environmental Protection Agency has frozen its grant programs, according to sources there.
EPA staff has been instructed to freeze all its grants ― an extensive program that includes funding for research, redevelopment of former industrial sites, air quality monitoring and education, among other things ― and told not to discuss this order with anyone outside the agency, according to a Hill source with knowledge of the situation.
An EPA staffer provided the information to the congressional office anonymously, fearing retaliation.
It’s unclear whether the freeze is indefinite or temporary as the agency transitions fully to the Trump administration; the Senate has not yet confirmed Trump’s pick for EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt. It’s also not clear the immediate impact the grant freeze would have on programs across the country, since EPA grants are distributed at varying intervals and frequency.
“I will say it’s pretty unusual for us to get these kinds of anonymous contacts from people at the agency, which makes me think it’s unusual,” said the Hill source.
Neither the Trump transition office nor the central press office at the EPA responded to a request for comment Monday.
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. 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.
Expect that most other executive agencies will be given similar directives to no longer communicate, especially to the press. Vague leaks like this will be all you can expect from the Trump regime. This is how you maintain an authoritarian regime, all information will come from Trump's propaganda machine. Even the Bushies weren't this obviously fascist. But the Trump regime is locking down agencies -- particularly agencies with focus on science -- within the first week.
I recall conservatives scoffing at the "lack of transparency" in the Obama administration. These same pundits and critics are strangely silent about the Trump regime. It's okay however, I don't expect the EPA to last much longer anyway considering the only budgetary issue now is how many trillions in draconian cuts the Republicans make starting this spring.
The more immediate picture is this means Flint, Michigan and several other American communities will be receiving zero federal money from the EPA to help fix water pipe problems and toxic drinking water. People will continue to be poisoned. But hey, you'll be able to keep buying bottled water at ten times the cost, and it'll probably be safe.