Trump administration freezes Interior and Energy Department grants

A leaked internal memo shows that the U.S. Department of the Interior is putting a hold on grants that have already been approved for funding, much of which was already dedicated by Congress to go toward land and wildlife conservation efforts. In the memo, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke notes that the administration’s “new priorities” require reevaluating $5.5 billion his agency distributes annually. The U.S. Department of Energy is also reportedly withholding funding for grants already approved by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. The ARPA-E program awards funding for “breakthrough” energy technology projects and has strong bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. Energy Secretary Rick Perry even tweeted in March: “Innovators like the ones supported by our @ARPAE program are key to advancing America’s energy economy.” Although Perry’s agency hasn’t comment directly on the decision to hold back funding, it is telling that President Trump’s budget proposes to shut down the ARPA-E program.

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