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E&E News: Inhofe will testify at House hearing on Upton's EPA bill
February 8, 2011

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E&E News

Inhofe will testify at House hearing on Upton's EPA bill


Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter

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When the House Energy and Commerce Committee hears testimony tomorrow on Chairman Fred Upton's proposal to permanently bar U.S. EPA from regulating emissions linked to climate change, one of the star witnesses will be Upton's friend and collaborator, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.).

Inhofe told reporters today that he has always assumed he would testify in support of the bill, which Upton (R-Mich.) and he unveiled last week to elicit comments from their colleagues and which they say they hope will form the basis of a bicameral agreement on EPA pre-emption.

"I'll be talking about the president having the audacity to give a speech to the [U.S.] Chamber of Commerce yesterday about what he's going to do ... 'We're going to review regulations' ... at the same time he is proposing regulations," said Inhofe, who is top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee.

President Obama reiterated his commitment to look for unnecessary regulations and work with Congress to reform them at an address yesterday to the nation's largest trade association.

Inhofe said this review should include a wide range of regulations EPA has recently finalized or that are in the pipeline for the next few years, including the finding that forms the basis for the agency's regulation of carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act, rules for particulate matter and maximum available control technology requirements for utilities and industrial boilers. He said all of these rules would have a harmful effect on economic development.

"I mean all of these are regulations that are just real expensive," Inhofe said.

The senator said that he and Upton -- who took over the gavel of the Energy and Commerce Committee last month -- see eye to eye on the need to prevent EPA from moving ahead with its current and new carbon dioxide regulations. The agency phased in its first CO2 restrictions for large emitters last month and expects to complete additional rulemakings for refineries and electric utilities over the next two years.

"Upton and I, we were elected at the same time. We're real good friends, and we put this together to come up with the same legislation," he said.

Inhofe said he expects that his bill will be supported by all 47 of the Senate's Republicans and by "many of the Democrats who are up [for re-election] in 2012." The bill would need 60 votes to clear the Senate.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she is currently reviewing Upton-Inhofe and likes what she sees.

"Based on what I've seen of it, it's hitting some of the right spots," said Murkowski, who last year introduced her own resolution of disapproval that would have prevented EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.

Meanwhile, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said Monday night that she had met with Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to discuss his bill that would prevent not only EPA from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, but any agency from formulating climate-related regulations under any law. Landrieu, who is a strong supporter of her state's oil industry, has said she is considering co-sponsoring Barrasso's measure.


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