Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Trump's EPA Can Now Veto Science Grants if They Mention Climate Change

Popular
Trump's EPA Can Now Veto Science Grants if They Mention Climate Change
Irma Omerhodzic

By Jake Johnson

In what environmentalists characterized as an "outrageous" scheme by the Trump administration to put "politics before science," the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now only issuing grants and awards if they are approved by a political appointee, the Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin reported on Monday.

John Konkus—a GOP operative who served as President Donald Trump's Leon County, Florida campaign chairman—now "reviews every award the agency gives out, along with every grant solicitation before it is issued," Eilperin noted.


She continued:

According to both career and political employees, Konkus has told staff that he is on the lookout for "the double C-word"—climate change—and repeatedly has instructed grant officers to eliminate references to the subject in solicitations.

Konkus, who officially works in the EPA's public affairs office, has canceled close to $2 million competitively awarded to universities and nonprofit organizations. Although his review has primarily affected Obama administration priorities, it is the heavily Republican state of Alaska that has undergone the most scrutiny so far.

Liz Bowman, an EPA spokeswoman, made clear in an interview with the Washington Post that the purpose behind having a political aide "screen" awards and grants has nothing to do with scientific merit.

Rather, Konkus's role is "ensure funding is in line with the agency's mission and policy priorities," Bowman said.

Given the Trump administration's moves during its first seven months in power—which include withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate accord and dismantling regulations aimed at protecting the air and water—environmentalists warned that the EPA's new standard for grants and awards essentially amounts to a ban on climate funding.

Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, argued that Trump's politicization of the EPA also harms "local leaders struggling to protect their communities from pollution."

"To sum up," concluded Don Moynihan‏, professor of government at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, "someone with no scientific expertise is deciding on science grants for reasons of ideology and spite."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

Actress Jessica Smith gets her make-up done at the Point De Vue Salon on March 1, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. Marsaili McGrath / Getty Images

California became the first state in the nation to ban two dozen toxic chemicals from cosmetics Wednesday when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill to that effect into law.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The MoveOn political action committee memorializes coronavirus deaths in the U.S. on May 13, 2020 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images for MoveOn

As the coronavirus has spread around the globe, so have the germs of misinformation and conspiracy theories about the new disease. Fake news about the virus is so prevalent that health professionals have started referring to it as an "infodemic."

Read More Show Less

Trending

A Marathon Oil refinery in Melvindale, Michigan on June 9, 2020. The Federal Reserve bought $3 million in the company's bonds before they were downgraded, bringing taxpayers' total stake to $7 million. FracTracker Alliance

A new report shows the U.S. government bought more than $350 million in bonds issued by oil and gas companies and induced investors to loan the industry tens of billions more at artificially low rates since the coronavirus pandemic began, Bloomberg reported.

Read More Show Less
A September 17 report by the Rhodium Group calculates that 1.8 billion tons more greenhouse gases will be released over the next 15 years as a result of climate change rollbacks the Trump administration has achieved so far. Pete Linforth / Pixabay / CC0

By Karen Charman

When President Donald Trump visited California on September 14 and dismissed the state Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot's plea to recognize the role of climate change in the midst of the Golden State's worst and most dangerous recorded fire season to date, he gaslighted the tens of millions of West Coast residents suffering through the ordeal.

Read More Show Less
President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives on February 04, 2020 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

By Jan Ellen Spiegel

It wasn't so long ago that the issue of climate change was poised to play a huge – possibly even a decisive – role in the 2020 election, especially in the race for control of the U.S. Senate. Many people supporting Democratic candidates saw a possible Democratic majority as a hedge against a potential Trump re-election … a way to plug the firehose spray of more than 100 environmental regulation rollbacks and new anti-climate initiatives by the administration over its first term.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch