Friday, February 16, 2007

OPENING STATEMENT: Hearing on the U.S. Climate Action Partnership Report

Madame Chairman, I appreciate you having this hearing today. The issue of climate change has taken on a larger significance lately. And the subject of the day is mandatory carbon cap and trade. More and more, companies that wish to profit on the backs of consumers are coming out of the woodwork to endorse climate proposals in the hope of forcing customers to buy their unnecessary products or to penalize their competitors.

Some companies are coming together in an attempt to profit from government intervention where they have failed in the marketplace. Economists call this rent-seeking. But I think the Wall Street Journal was right. They are climate profiteers. These companies will gain market-share against their competitors while the economy flattens and jobs are sent to China – which in an ironic twist of fate will soon become the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide on the planet. Madame Chairman, not all companies have joined the climate profiteers. Most will be its victims, particularly small businesses that will no longer be able to compete. But the biggest losers won’t be businesses, but American consumers.

This proposal and others like it may be written in the form of government regulatory mandates, but for all practical purposes, it is really a regressive tax on the American economy, where select powerful companies profit at the expense of seniors, the working class and the poor. These groups already pay disproportionately more of their monthly budget for energy, and this situation will only worsen under proposals like we see today. Let me be clear -- this is the biggest tax hike in U.S. history.

I am told that the rush to do something about global warming has gained momentum. But the not so hidden secret is that more and more serious scientists and political leaders are voicing their discontent with both the hype and the symbolic approaches that masquerade as solutions that are designed more to line the pockets of its promoters than to accomplish anything.

Among scientists, of course, there is Claude Allegre – the French Socialist, geophysicist, and member of the French and American academies of science – who has said that warming may be due simply to natural variation and that this debate appears to be about money. There is also Nir Shariv, one of Israel’s top young astrophysicists, who says there is no proof of man’s contribution rather than natural variation.

And then there are the political leaders. Prime Minister Stephen Harper reportedly once called the Kyoto accord a "socialist scheme" designed to suck money out of rich countries. And just last week, Czech President Vaclav Klaus made clear his disdain for politics parading for science when he said "Global warming is a false myth and every serious person and scientist says so. It is not fair to refer to the U.N. panel. IPCC is not a scientific institution: it's a political body, a sort of non-government organization of green flavor.

You don’t have to agree with my position on the science to question the wisdom of the cap and trade approach. These proposals will do little and cost much. Moreover, as White House spokesman Tony Snow stated last week, "there is a carbon cap system in place in Europe, we are doing a better job of reducing emissions here," Snow said.

The simple fact is that we cannot continue to put pressure on demand for natural gas in this country while we curtail the efforts of producers to supply it. We cannot demand significant emission reductions while Senators oppose the construction of new nuclear facilities. In short, we cannot demand reductions from our fossil fuel sector unless these demands can be met.

The result can only be further increases and volatility of natural gas prices, continued and even increased job flight to countries that don’t participate. But the biggest cost will be to consumers, who will be forced to foot the bill for this climate chicanery. That is why I have decided to fight for consumers and plan to introduce the Ratepayer’s Protection Act, which will protect consumers in regulated States from having their rates raised to pay any climate schemes.

Thank you.


Inhofe Calls Cap and Trade Mandates The Largest Tax Increase in U.S. History

Following Tuesday's hearing, Senator Inhofe called proposed global warming legislation capping greenhouse gasses "the largest tax increase in American history." Inhofe made the remarks following yesterday's Senate hearing about the "Climate Action Partnership Report."

"Cap and trade proposals would be the largest single tax increase in the history of America ," Senator Inhofe said. "While certain large companies may benefit from these schemes, the American people would be greatly harmed, particularly the middle class, the working poor and low income families. According to a Wharton Econometrics Forecasting Associates study, the Kyoto Protocol would cost the U.S. economy at least $300 billion dollars annually, ten times President Clinton’s 1993 record tax increase which cost $32 billion dollars." [Note: According to, President Clinton’s 1993 tax increase (the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) amounted to $32 billion. The Wharton Econometrics Forecasting Associates study estimated Kyoto would cost $300 billion annually and would cost 2.4 million U.S. jobs and reduce GDP by 3.2 percent.]

See Senator Inhofe’s Opening Statement from today’s EPW Hearing: ( Link )

Despite Rhetoric, TRI Rule Good for Public Health and the Environment

On February 6, the Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing titled Oversight of Recent EPA DecisionsOne rule this hearing addressed was EPA’s Final Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Burden Reduction Rule announced December 18, 2006.  [ Link to final rule: ]

At the hearing, Senate Democrats characterized the new TRI rule as weakening the public’s right to know, eliminating disclosure requirements, and allowing facilities to hide the amounts of chemicals they may use.  Yesterday, three Senate Democrats introduced legislation (S.595) to overturn the TRI rule.  A similar measure was also introduced by House Democrats (HR.1055). 

FACT: The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) is a publicly available EPA database that contains information on toxic chemical releases and other waste management activities reported annually by certain covered industry groups such as manufacturing, mining, utilities, hazardous waste management facilities, chemical distributors, petroleum bulk plants, and solvent recovery services.

EPA announced the final TRI burden reduction rule in December 2006 that expands eligibility to use Form A instead of the more detailed Form R for some smaller facilities’ annual reporting.  The final TRI rule:

*Allows facilities to report using the new Form A that emit non-persistent, bioaccumulative toxics (PBTs) in quantities of up to 2,000 lbs., as long as the total waste management by recycling or disposal does not exceed 5,000 lbs.

*Allows facilities to report using the new Form A that emit PBTs only if they report zero total releases, on or off-site, and the total waste management by recycling or disposal does not to exceed 500 lbs.

*Eases regulatory burden on smaller facilities.  The new Form A is easier to fill out, includes more chemicals on one form, and requests ranges of chemical amounts for smaller facilities.

Good for Small Business:

Tom Sullivan, Chief Counsel for the Office of Advocacy at the U.S. Small Business Association testified at the February 6 hearing, "[S]mall businesses are disproportionately impacted by regulation.  The overall regulatory burden in the United States exceeds $1.1 trillion.  For firms employing fewer than 20 employees, the most recent estimate of their regulatory burden is $7,647 per year per employee." [Link to SBA commissioned report: ]

An SBA Office of Advocacy contracted report released in 2004 revealed that businesses incur costs of $300 million annually for compliance with the TRI program.

The new TRI rule attempts to relieve some of those costs on smaller reporting facilities and retain the integrity and public accessibility to information in the TRI program.

Based on studies commissioned by the SBA Office of Advocacy, the increased reporting threshold in the new TRI rule involves very little change in the potential risk associated with releases that are being reported on the more detailed TRI Form Rs.  In fact, these studies report that for 99% of all the nation’s 3,142 counties, the changes in reported risk are not significant.   [Link to entire SBA work on TRI:]  

Good for the Environment:

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson testified at the February 6 hearing, "As successful as the program has been, we have been challenged by the fact that, at a national level, reductions in TRI releases have plateaued.  So we have asked ourselves: How do we encourage zero releases and better waste management practices?"  

The new TRI rule does not exempt any facility from reporting its releases, nor does it remove any chemicals from the TRI.  Under the new Form A, covered facilities provide a report to the public that total releases from a facility are in a range from zero to 2,000 pounds.  Facilities that have any emissions or discharges of highly toxic materials (PBTs) still cannot use Form A in annual reporting.

Most importantly, however, the new TRI rule provides incentives for facilities to improve environmental performance through reducing emissions, reducing or eliminating releases, and managing remaining wastes using preferred methods such as recycling and treatment.  It only makes sense to reward facilities that have worked to lower their emissions and releases to zero and enhanced their waste management with more efficient reporting and less burdensome reporting costs.  

Some Senate Democrats have argued that the new TRI rule keeps necessary information from first responders.  However, first responders rely on chemical inventory data that is required under Section 312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA).  The new TRI rule does not affect chemical inventory data.  

Final Thought:

As one member of the Committee succinctly stated at the February 6 hearing, "They [the Democrat Majority] want to debate whether the EPA should require that respondents file Form A in lieu of Form R to the TRI program.  I mean, are you kidding?  We are focusing on the wrong things." 

Perhaps it couldn’t have been better said.  


Inhofe Praises Czech President's Courage in Confronting Global Warming Alarmism

Climate Skeptics Vindicated as Growing Number of Scientists & Politicians Oppose Alarmism

Washington, D.C. – Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, congratulated Czech President Vaclav Klaus for speaking out against the fears of man-made global warming. Klaus told a Czech newspaper on February 8, 2007 that fears of catastrophic man-made global warming were a "myth" and critiqued the UN IPCC process, calling it a "political body." Klaus also said other government leaders would speak out, but "political correctness strangles their voice."

"President Klaus is to be commended for his courage in speaking not only the truth about the science behind global warming fears, but the reality of the politicization of the UN," Inhofe said.

"President Klaus’s reported comments questioning the fears of catastrophic man-made global warming are inline with a growing chorus of scientists, peer reviewed literature and government leaders who are finally realizing the true motivations behind climate scares. The scientific and political momentum is clearly shifting away from climate alarmists to climate realists," Inhofe said.

"The chorus of voices speaking out against the alarmist claims of man-made global warming comes as Europe and the rest of the world acknowledge the failure of the cap and trade approach of Kyoto. Perhaps now the alarmists will finally take note of the accomplishments of the Bush Administration in reducing U.S. emissions," Inhofe said. [Note: International Energy Agency records show that from 2000 to 2004, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion grew by 1.7 percent, while in the European Union such emissions grew by 5 percent. (Link )

Momentum Shifting

*Claude Allegre: The recent conversion in 2006 of Allegre, a geophysicist and French Socialist, from alarmist to skeptic, is just one example of a growing list of scientists leaving the alarmist climate camp. Allegre now says the cause of climate change is "unknown" and he also accused proponents of manmade catastrophic global warming of being motivated by money, noting that "the ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people!"

*Astrophysicist Nir Shaviv, one of Israel's top young scientists recanted his belief in manmade emissions driving climate change. "Like many others, I was personally sure that CO2 is the bad culprit in the story of global warming," Shaviv said in January 2007. But Shaviv now points to growing peer reviewed evidence that the sun has been driving the temperature changes. "Solar activity can explain a large part of the 20th-century global warming," Shaviv said. "I am quite sure Kyoto is not the right way to go," Shaviv added.

*Climate scientist Henrik Svensmark, released a report last week from his team of researchers at the Danish National Space Centre which shows that the planet is experiencing a natural period of low cloud cover due to fewer cosmic rays entering the atmosphere. "We have the highest solar activity we have had in at least 1,000 years," Svensmark said.

*Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist, also expressed his view last week that the UN rejects science it sees as "politically incorrect" and the UN denies that "climate history and related archeology give solid support to the solar hypothesis."

*Canadian climatologist Timothy Ball recently called fears of man-made global warming "the greatest deception in the history of science."

*Meteorologist James Spann said in January that he does "not know of a single TV meteorologist who buys into the man-made global warming hype" and he noted that "Billions of dollars of grant money is flowing into the pockets of those on the man-made global warming bandwagon."

Meteorologist Reid Bryson, who was pivotal in promoting the coming ice age scare of the 1970’s ( See Time Magazine’s 1974 article "Another Ice Age") has now converted into a leading global warming skeptic. Bryson now dismisses what he terms "sky is falling" man-made global warming fears in an article last week.

*MIT Scientist Richard Lindzen and former UN IPCC reviewer, called fears of man-made global warming ‘silly’ in January 2007 and equated concerns to ‘little kids’ attempting to "scare each other."

*Climate Scientist Fred Singer & Environmental Economist Dennis Avery’s 2006 book: "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years" details the solar-climate link using studies from peer reviewed literature.

*David Bellamy: In addition famed UK environmental campaigner David Bellamy recently converted into a skeptic after reviewing the new science and now calls global warming fears "poppycock."

*60 prominent scientists wrote the Canadian Prime Minister in 2006 saying that "If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary." 2006 was seen by many as year of vindication for climate skeptics. 

Political Leaders Facing Reality

*Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has referred to the Kyoto Protocol as a "socialist scheme" designed to suck money out of rich countries.

*Canadian Environmental Minister John Baird said meeting Kyoto's emissions reduction targets in Canada would require an economic collapse similar to Russia's post-Communist fall. Baird said for Canada "to achieve that kind of [Kyoto emission reduction] target through domestic reductions would require a rate of emissions decline unmatched by any modern nation in the history of the world except those who have suffered economic collapse, such as Russia. Canadians do not want empty promises on a plan that we cannot achieve and they do not want our country to face economic collapse."

This recent scientific and political momentum shift to climate realism can only explain why the proponents of manmade climate change are growing increasingly desperate to silence scientific debate. A few examples of desperation include:

*Heidi Cullen of The Weather Channel recently called for decertifying broadcast meteorologists who do not tow the line on global warming alarmism. Cullen is also the star of a new politically charged global warming documentary that, according to the film's website, accuses the U.S. government of "criminal neglect" and blames "right-wing think tanks" for helping to "defeat climate-friendly legislation."

*Calls by some climate alarmists in 2006 for ‘Nuremberg-Style’ trials for skeptics

*Demonizing climate skeptics as "Holocaust deniers"

*Alarmists threatening the job positions of State Climatologists in Oregon and Delaware who hold skeptical views on climate change

EPA Makes The Right Call On Perchlorate

Last week the Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing, Oversight of Recent EPA Decisions, in which one Senate Democrat made the assertion that the failure of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to list perchlorate on its second Unregulated Contaminated Monitoring Rule (UCMR) was an "environmental rollback." Dr. Gina Solomon, who testified at the hearing, echoed the sentiment that EPA’s decision has put the health of America’s at risk.

FACT: Perchlorate is not only an industrial product vital to our national defense industry and space exploration, but also a naturally occurring substance. It has been found in places where there is absolutely no possible connection nexus to the Department of Defense or NASA. It has also been found in our nation’s food supply. So it is critical that EPA fully understand how much exposure comes from drinking water and how much comes from natural and other sources before we set out creating an unfunded mandate on our local drinking water systems requiring them to spend scarce water resources chasing after a chemical over which mother nature has significant control.

To regulate an unregulated contaminant like perchlorate, EPA must find that:

*The contaminant may have an adverse effect on the health of persons;

*The contaminant is known to occur or there is a substantial likelihood that the contaminant will occur in public water systems with a frequency and at levels of public health concern, and

*In the sole judgment of the Administrator, regulation of such contaminant presents a meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public water systems.

According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), in a very conservative assessment, it recommended a safe level that is based upon a precursor to the adverse health effect which may occur at 24.5 ppb drinking water equivalent. The NAS chose this level to protect even the most sensitive members of our population from any effect of perchlorate. In order to determine if perchlorate is "known to occur" and "with a frequency and at levels of public health concern", EPA put perchlorate on the UCMR1 and gathered data from 3,722 drinking water systems. Only 4 percent found perchlorate and at an average concentration of 9.95 ppb, well below NAS’s health effects level of 24.5ppb.

EPA must now determine the relative contribution of perchlorate from other sources to determine if a drinking water standard will present "a meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction."

CDC researchers however found perchlorate in trace amounts in all of the over 2,000 participants in its recent study. The 2,000 participants are representative sample of the nation. If perchlorate is only in 4 percent of the drinking water systems, yet in all 2,000 of these participants, it clearly is coming from somewhere other than drinking water.

As Dr. Solomon noted in her testimony:

"Research has also shown that perchlorate can concentrate in crops such as wheat, lettuce, alfalfa, and data have shown perchlorate contamination to be widespread in store-bought fruit, vegetables, cow’s milk, beer and wine.

When asked at the hearing about the allegation not to list perchlorate on the UCMR2 was a rollback, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson replied:

"If we had listed it, then we would have begun monitoring. That monitoring data would not have concluded until the year 2010. And I did not want to send any signal that we were going to wait until after 2010 to evaluate the science and make a decision as to whether a health advisory in MCL was appropriate."

Further, the American Water Works Association, whose membership includes the nation’s smallest drinking water utilities, stated in its comments on EPA’s proposal to include perchlorate on UCMR2

"With the UCMR2 monitoring being completed in 2010, this data would be too late for any potential perchlorate drinking water regulation that would likely be proposed in the next few years."

Listing perchlorate on the UCMR2 would have only served to delay the decision on whether or not to regulate perchlorate –clearly not the "rollback" some try to claim.



From the Blog: Panel of Broadcast Meteorologists Reject Man-Made Global Warming Fears- Claim 95% of Weathermen Skeptical

Climate alarmism is proving more unsustainable everyday. Increasing numbers of scientists and climate experts are growing more skeptical of predictions of a man-made catastrophe. For proof of the growing momentum, see previous EPW release: Climate Skeptics Vindicated as Growing Number of Scientists & Politicians Oppose Alarmism

Today's climate roundup includes articles about scientists standing up for climate realism.

1) Panel of Broadcast Meteorologists Reject Man-Made Global Warming Fears - Claim 95% of Weathermen Skeptical

From Crain's Cleveland publication on February 13, 2007:

The Ohio TV meteorologists, Dan Webster, Dick Goddard, Mark Johnson, Mark Nolan and John Loufman, mocked the UN's global warming alarmism. "You tell me you’re going to predict climate change based on 100 years of data for a rock that’s 6 billion years old?" Johnson said. "I’m not sure which is more arrogant — to say we caused (global warming) or that we can fix it," Nolan said. "Mr. Webster observed that in his dealings with meteorologists nationwide, ‘about 95%’ share his skepticism about global warming," the paper reported.

Also See: From The Cleveland Plain Dealer on February 16, 2007 : TV Weathermen Downplay Global Warming Fears

2) Meteorologist Dismisses UN IPCC Report

From Kentucky meteorologist Chris Allen blog on the 2007 UN IPCC global warming report:

"But, just because major environmental groups, big media and some politicians are buying this hook, line and sinker doesn't mean as a TV weatherperson I am supposed to act as a puppy on a leash and follow along," Allen said in his blog titled "Still Not Convinced" on February 7, 2007. Allen has the Seal of Approval of the National Weather Association and is the chairman of the Kentucky Weather Preparedness Committee.

As I have stated before, not only do I believe global climate change exists - it has always existed. There have been times of global warming and cooling," Allen, who is with WBKO in Bowling Green, added.

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The more the climate alarmists ratchet up the doomsday rhetoric, the more skeptical science and the people become.

There will be much more forthcoming...