It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that the GOP-led Congress will probably take a hard look at some of EPA's policies in the next two years and it probably will make some changes. Perhaps some big ones.
Where WILL it look?
I think the first place they will look is obvious. Say it with me: climate change, climate change, climate change. The Clean Power Plan may be first. Or perhaps something related to energy production and/or energy independence, like approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. (I'm not holding my breath for solar panel credits for everyone ....) After last night's election, the Senate has a filibuster-proof majority on this issue (thanks in part to Democrat support on the issue... remember this creates lots of jobs in both red and blue states)
I think the Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule may be high on the list as well. There appears to be growing resistance to this reform from the ag community and the resistance is inflamed by stories like the Wyoming man being monetarily threatened by EPA for building a small pond on his property.
Where SHOULD it look?
In my mind, the GOP-led Congress has a golden legacy opportunity in front of them: meaningful industrial chemical reform (i.e. "TSCA reform"). This has gone through its requisite mutliple-year long vetting and discussion process, where now deceased Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) led the charge for years until most recently by across-the-aisle colleague Sen David Vitter (R-LA). The pair introduced a bipartisan bill in 2013 prior to Lautenberg's passing. The GOP could easily ride this legislation home in the next session if it was made a priority.
I still think there are EPA programs that have simply not lived up to expectations and perhaps big changes should be considered. One of these programs is the Integrated Risk Information Program (IRIS), which I have written about before.
There may be an interest in other areas where the costs outweigh the benefits, such as the proposed revised Worker Protection Standard for agricultural employees. A hard look at the numbers used to develop the rule reveal that the costs may in fact outweigh the benefits for the rule as proposed - a topic I will discussing online on November 19.
There has seemingly been undue amounts of influence at EPA during this administration from environmental and public health NGOs, in particular the Natural Resources Defense Council. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the GOP decided to investigate the influence of advocacy groups in the US government.
Really, it is up to the GOP how they want to work with or not work with EPA over the next two years. It appears evident that a climate regulatory battle will commence shortly, but what POSITIVE CHANGE can the party effect along the way?