The AP and other media outlets reported earlier this week that emails sent internally to EPA staff mandated a temporary blackout on media releases and social media activity, as well as a freeze on contract approvals and grant awards. Ericksen said Tuesday that the agency was preparing to greenlight nearly all of the $3.9 billion in pending contracts that were under review. Ericksen said he could not immediately provide details about roughly $100 million in distributions that will remain frozen. The uncertainty about the contract and grant freeze coupled with the lack of information flowing from the agency since Trump took office have raised fears that states and other recipients could lose essential funding for drinking water protection, hazardous waste oversight and a host of other programs. The agency also took a potential first step Tuesday toward killing environmental rules completed as President Barack Obama's term wound down. At least 30 were targeted in the Federal Register for delayed implementation, including updated pollution rulings for several states, renewable fuel standards and limits on the amount of formaldehyde that can leach from wood products. Jared Blumenfeld, who served until last year as EPA's regional administrator for California and the Pacific Northwest, compared what is happening to a "hostile takeover" in the corporate world. "Ericksen and these other folks that have been brought in ... have basically put a hold on everything," said Blumenfeld, who regularly speaks with former colleagues still at the agency. "The level of mismanagement being exercised during this transition is startling and the impact on the public is alarming." For example, he said EPA employees aren't clear whether they can direct contractors who handle all of California's Superfund sites. Some EPA employees have taken to their own social media accounts to say what's happening inside the agency, despite fears of retaliation. "There's a strong sense of resistance," Blumenfeld said.