The Future of the EPA

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Twelve days into the Donald Trump presidency and only a handful of his cabinet nominees are confirmed. Scott Pruitt, Trump's nominee for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, is still waiting for a vote. Once Pruitt is confirmed, the agency is likely to see big changes.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump spoke about changing many of the EPA's functions. Environmental experts are concerned with Pruitt's nomination, citing the 14 times he sued the agency while working on behalf of oil companies in Oklahoma.

"How can he come into that office and stand up for the laws for the EPA is defending?" asks Matt Lee-Ashley of the Center for American Progress.

Trump transition official Steve Milloy is hoping Pruitt does not defend many of the regulations he deems unnecessary.

" I have been astonished that the regulatory overreach by the EPA and the use of bad science to justify regulations," he added. Milloy believes Pruitt will help protect the environment, but in a way that's friendly to the economy. He hopes Pruitt will transform the agency into one that is unrecognizable from the current one.

Milloy, in his book Scare Pollution, proposes rolling EPA tasks back to states, defunding scientists who he calls "activists," and leveling the field on judicial rules.

Lee-Ashley says "pollution doesn't respect state borders...you can't have piecemeal standards across the country" and therefore most EPA issues cannot be regulated state to state.

Though Pruitt is not yet in place, President Trump has already given controversial oil and gas pipelines the green light, promised to get out of the Paris Agreement, and has frozen and reestablished grants within the agency.