Regulatory Freeze and EPA Grants

January 27, 2017

There is a freeze on regulations that has been described as follows: 

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memorandum to all executive departments and agencies to freeze new or pending regulations -- giving the new administration time to review them. any regulations that have yet to be sent for publishing in the Federal Register, the memo asks the agency to not send any regulation to the Federal Register until reviewed by someone selected by the President.

For those that have been sent but not published, the White House ordered the regulations withdrawn. 

There are regulations have been published but have not reached their effective date. The memo instructs those regulations to be delayed for 60 days for review -- with a potential that a new notice for reopening the regulation could occur.

The memo makes an exception for "critical health, safety, financial, or national security matters," and asks agencies to identify any regulations that can't be delayed for other reasons.

Please see the spreadsheet showing the regulations impacting research issued over the past months that could be affected by this regulatory freeze, or by pending legislation that would similarly require suspension or withdrawal of recent regulations. 

We will keep you informed as best we can on developments on issues impacting research, and expect that the February 23-24 COGR meeting will be an opportunity to hear more details. In the meantime, check the COGR website for frequent updates on these and other related developments under the new Administration. Go to and click on Federal Updates.

EPA Grant Status:

You also have heard that the EPA has been directed to "freeze" grants and contracts. This clearly applies to issuance of new awards, but it was not clear whether it applies to spending on existing awards. The latest information now being reported is that the freeze does not apply to existing grants and contracts. 

This is what was reported by Reuters news:

"The agency was asked by the White House on Monday to temporarily halt all contracts and grants pending a review, according to multiple sources. The EPA awards billions of dollars worth of grants and contracts every year to support programs around environmental testing, cleanups and research. "EPA staff have been reviewing grants and contracts information with the incoming transition team," EPA spokeswoman Julia Valentine said in a statement. "The goal is to complete the grants and contracts review by the close of business on Friday, Jan. 27."