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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been ordered to freeze all its grants and contracts, including programs for climate research, environmental justice and pollution prevention, according to internal communications leaked anonymously to several outlets Monday evening.
It's unclear if the freeze is permanent and EPA staff are under orders to not discuss the move outside the agency, the sources told press. News of the freeze and gag order comes a day after Axios leaked details of the transition team's "agency action" plan for EPA, which accuses EPA of "us[ing] regulatory policy to steer the science" and recommends that the agency stop funding science and overhaul its internal science advisory process "to eliminate conflicts of interest and inherent bias."
Axios also quoted a Republican lobbyist who flags "dozens" of EPA-related executive orders coming down the pike in the next month.
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Madagascar has embarked on its most ambitious tree-planting drive yet, aiming to plant 60 million trees in the coming months. The island nation celebrates 60 years of independence this year, and the start of the planting campaign on Jan. 19 marked one year since the inauguration of President Andry Rajoelina, who has promised to restore Madagascar's lost forests.