The Trump administration has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to temporarily suspend awarding grants and contracts, ProPublica reported Tuesday night.
Myron Ebell, who ran Donald Trump’s EPA transition, confirmed the freeze on contracts and grants to ProPublica.
“They’re trying to freeze things to make sure nothing happens they don’t want to have happen, so any regulations going forward, contracts, grants, hires, they want to make sure to look at them first,” Ebell told ProPublica.
It’s not clear whether the directive applies only to new contracts or grants, or also to existing ones, according to ProPublica.
ProPublica also obtained an email from an EPA employee telling a storm water management employee that grants and contracts have been suspended.
“Right now we are in a holding pattern. The new EPA administration has asked that all contract and grant awards be temporarily suspended, effective immediately. Until we receive further clarification, this includes task orders and work assignments,” the employee wrote, according to ProPublica.
EPA officials did not confirm the freeze to ProPublica.
One EPA employee told ProPublica that the suspension of all contracts and grants is an unprecedented move. But Ebell argued that the freeze did not extend much beyond the norm.
“This may be a little wider than some previous administrations, but it’s very similar to what others have done,” he told ProPublica.
The Huffington Post also reported Monday night that the Trump administration froze all contracts and grants, citing an EPA employee who spoke with congressional staff.