President Trump has nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. Pruitt has deep ties to the fossil fuel industry, and formed an alliance between the industry and other attorneys general to fight former President Baracks Obama’s climate proposals. He is seen as a hero among conservatives who believe the EPA oversteps its federal authority.

Pruitt faced tough questioning and even outright skepticism during his initial confirmation hearing last week. The Washington Examiner published a statement Monday by Tom Carper, the Delaware Democrat and ranking member on the Environment and Public Works Committee, saying, “Following the committee hearing on Scott Pruitt’s nomination to head the EPA, serious questions remain about the nominee’s record and vision for the agency he seeks to lead.”

Much about any freeze at the EPA remains unclear, including whether it affects only new grants and contracts, or may also affect the roughly $6.4 billion worth of federal contracts the EPA already has in place. EPA press offices across the country did not immediately respond to calls and emails requesting comment.

The EPA routinely contracts out services ranging from hazardous waste handling to drinking water quality testing. More than 600 active contracts with businesses ranging from small minority-owned consulting companies to institutions as big as Colorado State University can be explored here.

The environmental agency’s grants are used to support private, state and municipal level environmental testing, remediation and innovation projects. Together those programs can total more in spending than an entire year’s budget for the agency. The EPA awarded roughly $1.4 billion worth of contracts and $9.6 billion in grants in 2013, the latest year for which data was available, according to the government spending website The agency’s total budget in 2016 was $8.6 billion.

A freeze on payments would appear consistent with other actions taken on Monday, including President Trump signing an executive order instituting a hiring freeze for new federal workers—a centerpiece of the pledge he made in his “Contract with the American Voter” during the presidential campaign.

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Abrahm Lustgarten contributed reporting to this story.

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