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More than 700 people have left the Environmental Protection Agency since President Trump took office, a wave of departures that puts the administration nearly a quarter of the way toward its goal of shrinking the agency to levels last seen during the Reagan administration.

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The Environmental Protection Agency is canceling a $120,000 “media tracking” contract it recently signed with a Republican public affairs and opposition-research firm amid questions about the firm’s political work and outrage from lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

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The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had his office professionally examined earlier this year to look for covert surveillance devices.

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One Environmental Protection Agency employee spoke up at a private lunch held near the agency headquarters, saying she feared the nation might be headed toward an “environmental catastrophe.” Another staff member, from Seattle, sent a letter to Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, raising similar concerns about the direction of the agency. A third, from Philadelphia, went to a rally where he protested against agency budget cuts.

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One of the top executives of a consulting firm that the Environmental Protection Agency has recently hired to help it with media affairs has spent the past year investigating agency employees who have been critical of the Trump administration, federal records show.

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