Inside EPA reports that President Trump plans to sign executive orders involving climate change at an EPA swearing-in ceremony set to take place once his nominee to head the agency, Scott Pruitt, is confirmed. From the Hill:
At that event, an administration source told Inside EPA that Trump will sign executive orders related to the agency’s climate work and that they could “suck the air out of the room,” according to the report.
The official did not say how many orders Trump will sign or what they will address. But the planned event could be similar to one Trump held at the Pentagon after Defense Secretary James Mattis was sworn in.
Inside EPA is a subscription site but the opening paragraph of the story states Trump will, “visit EPA headquarters to sign executive orders (EOs) aimed at scaling back the agency’s climate change and other work.” It’s not clear what “scaling back” means.
This leak to Inside EPA might be aimed at creating trouble for Scott Pruitt, who has yet to be confirmed. Recall that the EPA has been reported, at least twice, to be full of weepy bureaucrats unable to deal with Trump’s election victory. Earlier this month Politico reported that some of the bureaucrats had organized an encrypted communication network aimed at getting the word out about any EPA-related moves by Trump. The plan involved laundering the leaks through former Obama appointees with one EPA employee telling Politico, “It’s probably much safer to have those folks act as the conduit and to act as the gathering point rather than somebody in the agency.”
Yesterday, the chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee sent a letter to the EPA’s Inspector General citing Politico’s report on the encrypted communication network at EPA. The letter suggests EPA employees are using the network to bypass federal records laws and asks the IG to consider launching a full scale investigation into the matter.