Inhofe, Kerry Spar Over Climate Bill (Tulsa World)
October 28, 2009
Posted by Matt Dempsey firstname.lastname@example.org
In Case You Missed It...
Inhofe, Kerry Spar Over Climate Bill
by: JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe and John Kerry took turns Tuesday challenging each other over jobs, costs, taxes and even the need to pass historic climate-change legislation.
Typically for the U.S. Senate, the two global-warming antagonists ended up talking past each other and at times were not even in the same room.
Inhofe, R-Okla., threw down the gauntlet in his opening statement at the kickoff hearing on the climate-change bill introduced by Kerry, D-Mass., to transform the U.S. economy toward clean energy, less pollution and reclaiming the lead among world nations on such issues.
Inhofe, the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, spoke of the economic pain such a transition would cause.
"The victims of cap-and-trade can't just move on and get new, green jobs," he said.
In addition, Inhofe said, Kerry's bill would represent a massive new tax on consumers and in the end
would virtually have no impact on climate.
When it came his turn to speak as the hearing's lead-off witness, Kerry said he had listened carefully to Inhofe's critique and served notice he would address some of his points.
He conceded such change would bring costs.
But, Kerry said, studies on that issue fail to take into account the cost of doing nothing about climate change.
"That's far more expensive for your folks in Oklahoma," he said.
To Inhofe's claim of job losses, Kerry cited a report that he said showed a net creation of jobs in Oklahoma as well as states represented by other senators on the committee.
Hitting close to home for Inhofe, Kerry singled out a family-owned company in Norman that has become the third-largest manufacturer of small wind turbines in the world with installations in all 50 states and more than 100 countries.
"That business can grow and compete with the Chinese," he said.
After his opening remarks, Kerry, who reportedly was expected at another committee meeting, left the witness table and the hearing room without giving Inhofe a chance to rebut.
A clearly perturbed Inhofe protested briefly and then hours later took to the Senate floor to offer a point-by-point response. He spoke of the higher prices on gasoline and electricity.
Inhofe also challenged Kerry's reference to experts claiming the last 10 years have been the hottest decade on record.
In a later interview, Inhofe said he did not know ahead of time that Kerry would not stick around for the normal give-and-take during questions at the hearing.
"That was very, very frustrating," he said.
Kerry and Inhofe's different stances on the legislation represented those taken by other members of their own parties during a hearing that also included key members of the Obama administration.
Democrats lined up to praise the bill and paint a bleak picture of dramatic consequences including more frequent and more intense storms and heat waves if action is not taken.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D- Calif., said costs to avert the negative impact of global warming comes to 30 cents a day for American families.
Other Republicans joined Inhofe in pointing to the economic impact as well as a lack of a full analysis of the Kerry bill.