Senators say DOI politicizing conservation grants

News Type: Federal Source: Mountain West News
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Democratic senators want to know why the Department of Interior has been delaying the disbursement of grants and cooperative-agreement funding for conservation projects, such as the Sagebrush in Prisons Project, which teaches prisoners to plant sagebrush in six Western states.

According to a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, written by Democrats Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii and signed by 10 colleagues, a political appointee has been put in charge of vetting payments of more than $50,000. The senators charge that the resulting delays have created “the appearance of improper political interference in program decisions that should always be merit-based.”