Trump to begin reversing US environmental protections

According to the Washington Post the US President will sign executive orders as early as this week rolling back policies on climate and water pollution

Donald Trump will reportedly sign a number of executive orders aimed at reshaping US environmental policy as early as this week.

According to reports in the Washington Post, the US president will look to curtail Obama-era policies on climate and water pollution.

One of the planned orders will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin rewriting the 2015 regulation that limits greenhouse-gas emissions from existing electric utilities.

Another will instruct the US Interior Department to lift a ban on new coal mining leases on federal lands.

The orders would also require the EPA to change President Barack Obama's ‘Waters of the United States’ rule that details which US waterways fall under federal environmental protection.

The new orders come as President Trump’s pick as the new head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, told his staff that America should not have to choose between jobs and the environment.

In a 12 minute speech to about 70 EPA staff members in Washington, the controversial pick - who sued the agency he now leads more than a dozen times while attorney general of Oklahoma - said he believes the US can be “both pro-energy and jobs, and pro-environment.”

Mr Pruitt was confirmed as the 14th administrator of the EPA by the US Senate last week.

Scientists and environmental advocates have expressed concern that his appointment signals a reversal in America's progress in cleaning up air and water pollution - and in fighting global climate change.

Before his confirmation, some 800 former EPA staff signed a letter urging senators to reject him - and around 30 current EPA staff joined a protest set up by the environmental group Sierra Club in Chicago.

Democrats had sought to delay his nomination over questions about his ties to the oil industry in Oklahoma.

Both President Trump and Mr Pruitt have expressed doubts about climate change despite near total agreement amongst scientists that climate change is caused by human activity.