In August 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a policy requiring all new grant programs to be approved by the Office of Public Affairs. Within the office, grants would be reviewed by the Deputy Administrator for Public Affairs John Konkus, a political appointee. Deputy Administrator Konkus is also reviewing existing grants for scientific research. He has reportedly told staff he is looking for “the double C-word” – climate change – and has instructed grant officers to eliminate references to the subject in solicitations.
On May 14, 2018, EPA employees were informed that grant solicitations would no longer be subject to approval by the Office of Public Affairs. According to an email sent to employees, going forward, regional administrators and assistant administrators at EPA will have to approve “solicitation issuance” for grants.