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Inhofe vows to stay top climate skeptic, despite committee shuffle
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November 15, 2012

Posted by Matt Dempsey

In the News...


Inhofe vows to stay top climate skeptic, despite committee shuffle

Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter

Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012

Link to Article 

Sen. James Inhofe said last night in a Web-based interview that he would still be "in charge" of climate skepticism on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, despite ceding his ranking membership to Sen. David Vitter (R-La.).

"Senator Vitter has said publicly that I will still be in charge on this issue," the Oklahoma Republican said in an interview hosted by climate skeptic Anthony Watts. Inhofe noted that he has spent 10 years as the most vocal man-made climate change disbeliever in the Senate and said he would remain so as a senior member of the EPW Committee.

Inhofe has reached his term limit as the top Republican on the panel.

Earlier in the day, Inhofe told E&E Daily that he was better prepared than any of his colleagues to push back against the science of man-made climate change, which he has famously called "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."

"Right now, you can't ignore the highest tax increase in history because of the outcome of the election, and I'm probably a little better-equipped to talk about it than any of the rest of them are," he said.

That largest tax increase in history, he said, would come as President Obama's U.S. EPA rolls out its regulatory regime for carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act. A rule has already been proposed for new power plants and is expected to be finalized by the end of this year. Rules for existing power plants and refineries are expected to follow, and greens have begun to push for restrictions for other sectors, including hydraulic fracturing.

Inhofe said the EPA regulations would be even costlier than the cap-and-trade bill that passed the House but died in the Senate two years ago. That is because they would ultimately have to apply to all emitters that exceed the threshold laid out in the Clean Air Act for conventional pollutants, including those emitting as little as 100 or 250 tons of a pollutant per year, he said.

"You're now regulating down to Clean Air Act standards, which is every church, every school, every large farm, as opposed to doing it legislatively," he said.

EPA's tailoring rule for greenhouse gases restricts regulation to very large emitters that exceed a 100,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide equivalent threshold, and the rule was upheld in federal appeals court last June in a decision that would be difficult to reverse.

Asked what tools Senate Republicans have at their disposal to combat EPA's rules, Inhofe said "one is rare, but should be effective and very well will be effective. It's a tool called truth."

Inhofe said he is bracing for a regulatory onslaught now that Obama has won re-election, a development he said surprised him.

"I didn't think he could pull it off," he said. "Obama has said, 'Just get me re-elected and I will carry out this agenda I'm so committed to' -- and I'm talking about the agenda and all that."

But in a news conference yesterday, Obama angered some environmentalists by saying the time is not ripe for another push on climate change.

Inhofe said he hopes to serve as top Republican on an EPW subcommittee, "but not unless it's a subcommittee that I want."

He mentioned the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee as a top choice (see related story).



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