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Interior Dept. Now Screening Grants To Ensure They Align With Admin Priorities

by Countable | 1.9.18

What’s the story?

The Washington Post released a December 28 directive from the Interior Department outlining a new process for approval of discretionary grants. Any grants of more than $50,000 to non-profits authorized to engage in political advocacy or institutions of higher learning must be approved by a political appointee and in accordance with Secretary Ryan Zinke’s "Top Ten Priorities".

Those priorities include: "creating a stewardship legacy second only to Teddy Roosevelt", “utilizing natural resources”, “restoring trust with local communities”, “ensuring sovereignty means something”, “protecting our people and the border”, and “striking a regulatory balance”.

A former deputy secretary at Interior, David J Hayes, noted that the grant programs are governed by laws passed by Congress and told the Post, "Subjugating Congress’ priorities to 10 of the Secretary’s own priorities is arrogant, impractical and, in some cases, likely illegal."

The Interior Department has already halted funds to two studies by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. One was looking at whether residents near surface coal mining sites in Appalachia face higher health risks than other Americans. The other was aimed at updating and enhancing the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s oil and gas inspection program.

What do you think?

Is the Secretary establishing an adequate level of oversight to ensure taxpayer money is being properly spent, or is he restricting access to funds for scientists the administration doesn’t agree with?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Department of the Interior / Creative Commons)*

Countable

Written by Countable

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(26)
  • John
    01/09/2018
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    Zinke is an environmental terrorist who needs to be removed! He has no business being free to destroy what belongs to the American people. Stop him & throw him out!

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  • C
    01/09/2018
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    He is restricting access to funds for scientific research based on political beliefs much like the way the Catholic Church restricted the thought of Galileo. The criteria are so vague they can be interpreted to suit the agenda of the political appointee. We are systematically encouraging the new dark ages with these attacts on science and reason. Last time it was the Arabs who saved us , wonder who will do it this time?

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  • RadicalModerate
    01/09/2018
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    Is this even legal? It’s like corruption in reverse. Politics corrupting interests? Do grant recipients have to return the money if they’re caught helping poor people with it?

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  • Donna
    01/09/2018
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    The Department of the interior, like all other government agencies, were created to SERVE AND PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. The political yahoos nominated by DJT and stupidly confirmed by our complicit Senate serve AT THE PLEASURE OF THE PRESIDENT but their first priority should be to the agency and American people. They are not dictators over their own little regimes with all the power to do whatever they please. The sooner this administration and its own set of corrupt, dictatorial yahoos learn that the better for the nation. Refusing grant money to projects Zinke does not agree with is just like DJT refusing to follow the laws and political norms of the nation. Neither of them have the right nor the power to do so. Zinke, of course, is trying to prove to DJT just how much of a sycophant he can be if given the chance. Our scientists, non-profit organizations, citizens and our nation deserve better. If the Senate had done their job during confirmation hearings, we may have had the representation we deserve.

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  • Pru
    01/09/2018
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    Zinke has no respect for parks and national treasures, just rape America for $$$. This is disgusting. We will have nothing clean: sir, Water or land for our grandchildren.

    Like (6)
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  • Suzi
    01/09/2018
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    Mr. Zinke is restricting access to funds for scientists the administration doesn’t agree with and that’s just wrong.

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  • Marcus
    01/09/2018
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    I don’t fully understand this. But from what I do understand, I can’t support this.

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  • Sharon
    01/09/2018
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    Unbelievable!!

    Like (2)
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  • BeStrong
    01/10/2018
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    This Admins priorities involve drilling/mining and creating roads through federally protected lands that will lead to the continued and escalated poisoning of native Americans water sources and the impending extinction of birds bears and caribous. We are custodians of these lands. We are breaking our promise to enrich those gluttons for whom enough is never enough. Zinke’ may well be the worst thing that has happened to our environment period.

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  • Andrea
    01/10/2018
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    Dear Rep. Connelly, Senator Warner & Senator Kaine: I’m very concerned about recent decisions by the Secretary of Interior to cut research grants to organizations who are researching the impacts of the gas & oil industry on our country. These decisions seem targeted at burying science that could protect US citizens and instead, helping the polluting oil and coal companies. Please take any opportunity you have to call Secretary Zinke to account for the health and environmental impacts of his decisions to cut funding for research grants! This grants review is reckless and possibly illegal. Thank You!

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  • Timothy
    01/09/2018
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    What ever happened to campaign statements from Trump that he was going to make America great again for ALL citizens. No- grants from the interior dept are primarily for those who agree/support his agenda! Aha- more for ALL!

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  • Mary anne
    01/09/2018
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    What is this? Restricting grant to science to make sure we don’t kill anybody with these horrible things this president is doing. This is out rages what is wrong with you people? If you pass this you will be signing your life to him. So enjoy the ride.

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  • NoHedges
    01/11/2018
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    President Teddy Roosevelt would have NEVER let the 2017 Tax Heist occur. He believed in education, empowering the middle-class, and restoration of National Pride. This administration will never hold a candle to any Rosevelt or Kennedy.

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  • Rebecca
    01/10/2018
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    This administration is treason! Treason against Citizen! Treason against Country! Treason against the Land, and the life within it. Please stop the destruction of Country & Citizen! Corporate welfare is treason! Obligation must be to our people first!

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  • Rebecca
    01/11/2018
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    This is pathetic. Do any of these Trump administration hacks know how many hurdles scientists have to leap in order to get their work funded? You have to be the best of the best of the best, you have to have the respect of your peers, you have to demonstrate that your project is worthwhile, feasible, and has the potential to make a marked contribution. The war on science is increasingly and terrifyingly real.

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  • Azrael
    01/10/2018
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    Fix this now before it becomes another trump tragedy

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  • Heather
    01/11/2018
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    Sacrificing the safety of Americans because you smell a buck is atrocious. It is not ok to reject scientific study because you don’t like the results. If you can’t handle protecting the environment, or ensuring that the activities people perform to our planet in the pursuit of resources are performed safely, you should be fired.

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  • Michael n angie
    01/10/2018
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    In all fairness it could be either or. I’m a Christian,Constitutional Conservative. Although I agree to what’s been done I can not condone the method. Congress should never be by-passed. That Is I believe, at least a form of bureaucracy and that kind of governing has a whole lot to do with most of the problems that we face today. Besides with 20trillion in debt I’m sure we could find a place that most on both sides would agree on.

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  • GatewayJohn
    01/09/2018
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    More restrictions huh?

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  • Truly
    01/10/2018
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    I assume by grants they mean tax breaks and permission to rape our parks? That is the only thing in line with this administration goals. Bribes from companies to sell our land for their own profit.

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