January 31, 2017

EPA: Grant freeze is over, contracts still being evaluated

Last week, NM Political Report covered the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s temporary freeze on contracts and grants.

When word hit the streets that the EPA was freezing new grants and contracts, the news sowed confusion among employees of the agency as well as those who receive the grants and contracts.

Almost half the agency’s $8.6 billion budget in 2016 went to grants for states and nonprofits.

On Monday, we followed up with EPA Region 6 director of external affairs David Gray. As of Monday, he wrote in an email, the EPA has completed its review of grant programs.

He added that all grants are “proceeding normally and nothing has been delayed.”

That includes environmental program grants and state revolving loan fund grants for states and tribes.

The agency is almost done reviewing contracts, he wrote in an email to NM Political Report.

Last year, New Mexico received more than $36 million from the EPA. According to the U.S. government’s spending map, a large percentage of that money—more than $18 million—went to the New Mexico Environment Department. Much of that department’s Surface Water Quality Bureau budget comes from EPA.