U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt told a Senate committee on Tuesday that his agency’s decision to terminate a six-year grant that partially funds the Bay Journal was “under reconsideration.”
Pruitt, appearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, was questioned by Sen. Ben Cardin and Sen. Chris van Hollen, both Maryland Democrats, about the agency’s decision last summer to end the six-year grant after just two years of funding.
The questions followed reporting earlier this month by Energy & Environment, an online news service, that quoted former EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Director Nick DiPasquale, who retired Dec. 31, as saying the decision was “totally ideologically driven” and not based on a “shift in priorities” as the agency had stated.
“I learned of that decision after the fact,” Pruitt said of the grant action, “and I think it was probably a decision that should not have been made in the way it was.” He later reiterated that the grant was “under reconsideration and we are going to deal with it fairly.”
The questioning by the two senators followed a letter last week by Rep. John Sarbanes, D-MD, to Pruitt seeking an explanation of the grant decision.