The GOP-controlled Congress is in a race to fight off any last-minute attempts by Democrats to push through any more of President Obama's climate priorities before he leaves office, and before the next administration has a chance to upend the last eight years of work.
The House has already begun its big anti-regulation push against Obama's 11th-hour attempt to secure environmental and energy regulations as his presidency ends.
GOP lawmakers passed a bill Nov. 17, the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2016, that would give them the power to target multiple regulations under the Congressional Review Act, which grants them the power to pass resolutions of disapproval through a simple majority in order to repeal regulations.
"Given the arrogance this president and the administration under his direction continues to exhibit in his last days — with more and more ruthless regulations smothering the American people — this bill is the least we should do to force more accountability on his imperial actions," said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, and a vocal critic of the administration's energy agenda.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif, preceded the passage of the bill by sending a letter to all government agencies threatening to use the review act to scuttle their work if they do not cease and desist from rushing out 11th-hour regulations.
"Should you ignore this counsel, please be aware that we will work with our colleagues to ensure that Congress scrutinizes your actions — and, if appropriate, overturns them — pursuant to the Congressional Review Act," the letter warned.
In the Senate, John Barrasso, R-Wyo., the incoming chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, vowed to make use of the review act to scuttle the Interior Department's November final rule on controlling methane emissions from fracking, while the oil industry was threatening to go to court over the midnight reg.
The centerpiece of the president's climate agenda, the Clean Power Plan, is also getting a lot of attention in the lame duck.
The far-reaching climate regulations are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by directing the states to cut their emissions by one-third by 2030. The only problem is that most of the GOP, along with more than half the nation's state attorneys general, believe it is illegal and should be repealed, which President-elect Trump has vowed he will do.
The power plan, developed by the Environmental Protection Agency, is being reviewed by a 10-judge panel, and is expected to go to the Supreme Court.
A Trump transition document issued this month said if the judges of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals don't make a ruling on the plan by the time he takes office, he will instruct the Justice Department to withdraw the government's defense of the regulation.
Utility groups waging a legal fight over the EPA's climate plan see Trump's plan to withdraw its defense and repeal the rule as a win-win strategy. They say the plan can move ahead quickly once he is in office and would have their complete support.
Tom Lorenzen, outside counsel for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, representing a large segment of the nation's utility industry, said having the courts work this out would be a "wonderful thing" in a perfect world.
"But, you know, no one can guarantee the outcome of a judicial proceeding," he said, even though they are confident in their legal arguments opposing the power plan.
Even if they wanted to rely on the courts completely to resolve the issue, Lorenzen explained that federal judges "are generally reluctant to issue advisory opinions ... that don't really have a real enforceable impact because the administration may have changed course."
"So, if they believe a new administration wants to revisit, particularly a controversial issue like regulating carbon dioxide emissions, they will often wait for the administration to work it out itself and see if the issues can go away," said Lorenzen.
He added that the Trump transition team is already saying that the EPA under the new administration is not going to focus on carbon emissions and climate change. A member of the transition team, former Texas regulator Kathleen Hartnett-White, told the Washington Examiner that climate concerns don't have a place at the EPA.
The climate concerns "are really a discussion about energy, not really a discussion about environmental protection," she said. "The better home for considering this discussion about carbon dioxide and climate is in the Department of Energy."
Trump's EPA plan is beginning to gain support from conservative groups which are using Trump's plan to urge Congress to support an anti-regulatory agenda while scrapping "green pork" for renewable and clean energy technologies.
Brent Gardner, government affairs chief for the conservative free-market group Americans for Prosperity, explained that the administration "utilized climate as a way to negatively impact the business structure in this country," which has "gotten us to a point where we have lost jobs. They have gotten us to a point where a lot of their chosen industries have been engaging in cronyism."
Gardner's group is part of a federation of free-market groups lobbying Congress in anticipation of a Trump administration addressing climate cronyism and the job-killing aspects of increased energy regulation and the EPA, he said.
In addition to cutting excess regulation, clean energy advocates are bracing for Trump and Congress to begin targeting Obama's spending priorities.
Renewable energy spending, and subsidies for solar and wind, will be dismantled in favor of oil and gas technologies and restoring research and development for coal and nuclear power.
"Support for energy efficiency and renewable energy, although it will not be eliminated, will likely diminish going forward, representing a shift from policy under the Obama administration," read an analysis put out after the election by the Global American Business Institute, which works to educate policymakers on U.S-Korea energy cooperation.
Leading voices in the Senate are already calling for repealing the five-year extensions for solar and wind tax credits approved in last year's spending deal in favor of nuclear energy and restoring funding for the nation's nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain.
Advocates for the Keystone XL pipeline are renewing calls to approve the deal, which Obama killed off because of the Paris climate agreement.
"U.S. energy policy may completely flip," the business institute said.