Orders issued by President Donald Trump on Monday have frozen all Environmental Protection Agency grants and contracts, reflecting his campaign promise to minimize the authority’s influence.
The suspension — effectively immediately — puts on hold the billions awarded annually by the EPA for research and development, land restoration and enhancement, environmental monitoring and more.
Sources within the EPA have said they are unsure whether the freeze is temporary or indefinite, though it would seem likely that it will be in place at minimum until the Senate completes the confirmation of Trump’s pick to lead the EPA, Scott Pruitt.
Pruitt, who currently serves as the attorney general for Oklahoma, has previously sued the agency more than a dozen times and calls himself a “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”
That agenda includes the Clean Power Plan, which was unveiled by President Barack Obama in August 2015 and seeks to significantly reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions through the development of renewable generating resources.
The White House has also essentially placed a gag order on the federal agency, according to EPA sources, with tightened controls on press releases, external electronic communications and social media content.
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