EPA staff told to prepare for Trump executive orders: Sources


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Staff at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have been told that President Donald Trump is preparing a handful of executive orders related to the agency, to be signed once a new administrator is confirmed, two sources who attended the meeting told Reuters on Wednesday.

The sources, who asked not to be named, said a senior EPA official who had been briefed by members of the Trump administration mentioned the executive orders at a meeting of staffers in the EPA's Office of General Counsel on Tuesday, but did not provide details about what the orders would say.

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"It was just a heads up to expect some executive orders, that's it," one of the sources said.

The second source said attendees at the meeting were told Trump would sign between two and five executive orders.

Trump's pick to run the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is scheduled to face a Senate confirmation vote on Friday, according to a Senate aide, after a contentious hearing last month in which lawmakers pressed him on his ties to the oil industry. Pruitt sued the EPA more than a dozen times while he was the top prosecutor for the oil and gas producing state.

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Trump has promised to cut U.S. environmental regulation as a way to bolster the drilling and coal mining industries, but has vowed to do so without compromising air and water quality. He has also expressed doubts about the science behind climate change and promised during his campaign to pull the United States out of a global pact to combat it.

Those positions have worried EPA staff, who are concerned his administration will cut the EPA's budget, critical programs, and scientific research.

A Trump administration official did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by David Shepardson, Timothy Gardner, and Richard Valdmanis; Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Alan Crosby)

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