Trump administration freezes EPA hiring and contracts

In an unprecedented move, the Trump administration has imposed not just a federal hiring freeze but also a suspension of contracts and grant awards by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Speaking anonymously, a senior EPA official confirmed the nationwide freeze and said, “he had never seen anything like it in nearly a decade with the agency.” The EPA relies on contracts and grants to perform a wide range of functions, including important environmental testing work and remediation projects. Myron Ebell, of the climate-denying Competitive Enterprise Institute and head of President Trump’s EPA transition team, defended this expansive move by the administration. “They’re trying to freeze things to make sure nothing happens they don’t want to have happen,” he said, “so any regulations going forward, contracts, grants, hires, they want to make sure to look at them first.” Details are still vague, and the Trump administration has yet to answer whether this freeze would apply only to new contracts and awards or whether they intend to halt contracts currently underway. (Active EPA contracts can be viewed here.)

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