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Trump plans executive orders aimed at shaking up EPA, climate change policy, reports say

Pollution power plant
Robert Nickelsberg | Getty Images

President Donald Trump plans to introduce executive actions aimed at scaling back Obama-era climate change initiatives and shaking up the Environmental Protection Agency, reports say.

The president intends to sign the actions during a visit to the EPA headquarters for Scott Pruitt's swearing in as head of the agency, policy newsletter Inside EPA reported Tuesday, citing an administration source. The timing of the event has not been determined because the full Senate has not yet confirmed Pruitt.

The Hill reported on the Inside EPA report on Wednesday. The White House did not return CNBC's request for comment.

On Thursday, Reuters reported that staff at the EPA have been told that Trump is preparing a handful of executive orders to reshape the agency, to be signed once a new administrator is confirmed. The news service cited two sources who attended the meeting.

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, said the sources, who asked not to be named.

Inside EPA's source did not share the contents of the planned executive actions, but told Inside EPA they would "suck the air out" of the room.

The event would be similar to Trump's Pentagon visit for the swearing in of retired Gen. James Mattis as Defense secretary, during which he signed executive orders restricting immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations, Inside EPA's source said.

Myron Ebell, who directed EPA staffing for the Trump transition team, told Inside EPA in a Feb. 7 interview he expected a rollback of the EPA's climate change programs to be delivered in one or more executive orders.

One of Reuters's sources said attendees at the EPA staff meeting were told Trump would sign between two and five executive orders.

The executive orders could repeal former President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan, a framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the Clean Power Plan, which regulates carbon emissions from power plants, Inside EPA reported.

The source said one of the planned executive actions will be directed at the State Department. Inside EPA said that suggests it may relate to the Paris Agreement, an international accord to reduce the impact of climate change, which Trump has threatened to abandon or defund.

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works moved forward Pruitt's confirmation earlier this month despite a boycott by Democratic members.

Pruitt drew national attention for suing the EPA over Obama-era regulations while serving as Oklahoma's attorney general. He has questioned the science behind climate change and advocates giving states greater control over energy industry regulation.

—Reuters contributed to this report.