State officials in Michigan are wondering how the Trump administration’s freeze on Environmental Protection Agency grants and contracts will affect the $100 million in funds already allocated for the Flint water crisis.
As previously reported on The Root, within hours of President Donald Trump’s swearing-in Friday, officials at the Environmental Protection Agency were barred from any external communications and instructed to freeze all contracts and grants.
President Barack Obama signed a continuing resolution Dec. 10 that included $100 million specifically for Flint’s water crisis, but as reported by MLive, that legislation included a process for the city to apply for the funds through a grant program at the state Department of Environmental Quality.
Anna Heaton, press secretary for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, said in an email to MLive that the “statutory language is being reviewed to see if the [Drinking Water Revolving Fund] grants [targeting Flint] would be affected.”
“We haven’t received any guidance from the federal government,” Heaton’s statement said.
The “temporary suspension” of all new business at the EPA includes stopping the issuing of task orders or work assignments to EPA contractors.
Doug Ericksen, the communications director for Trump’s transition team at the EPA, told the Associated Press that he expects the communications ban to be lifted by the end of the week, according to MLive, and added that the freeze on EPA contracts and grants won’t apply to pollution-cleanup efforts or infrastructure-construction activities.
As MLive notes, Trump visited Flint in September while on the campaign trail, and he has said that the Flint water crisis would not have happened if he had been president.
He has yet to outline a plan to help the city get clean drinking water after what has become a federally recognized drinking-water emergency.
Read more at MLive.