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3 ways a Trump, Pruitt EPA could affect California

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt arrives at Trump Tower in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt arrives at Trump Tower in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/AP

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One of President-elect Donald Trump's most recent cabinet picks has several environmental groups on alert.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been chosen to head the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA. 

Pruitt is closely linked with the fossil fuel industry and has publicly denied the severity of climate change. Critics worry that in his new role, Pruitt will roll back environmental protection policies advanced under President Obama's tenure. 

So what impact could a Pruitt EPA have in the Golden State? 

Cara Horowitz, co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA, says California leads the nation with respect to climate regulations and that will put the state in a unique position over the next four years. 

The big three

1. It could become more expensive for California to meet environmental limits already in place in the state. 

"If tax credits for solar, and wind energy generation disappears, it becomes more expensive to meet those California goals," Horowitz says. "If there is less research and development money for technological advancements, again, it's harder."

2. California will have to find new energy partners. 

"There are less and fewer incentives for other states to join us. It will become more important for California to reach out and fund those partners itself," Horowitz says. "The state's job on climate becomes harder even though California's progressive policies will remain in place." 

3. California will have a significant leadership role in the country.

"In the same sense that Oklahoma and Texas and other states fought the EPA during the Obama Administration, I think California may take on some of that role during the Trump administration," Horowitz says. "[California] will take on the role of demonstrating what climate policies work while we're growing our economy in California. And I think becomes even more important state-to-state and sub-national-to-sub-national."

Press the blue play button above to hear the full interview. 

(Answers have been edited for clarity.)