Inhofe Statement on Congressional Opposition to Final Carbon Mandates

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the following statement today after Federal Register publication of the Obama administration’s final carbon emissions standards for fossil-fuel fired power plants:

“Federally mandated carbon controls, whether attempted through legislation or regulation, a losing strategy. Congress and the American people have consistently rejected such attempts, and the president’s now final carbon regulations will meet the same fate.  I commend Leader McConnell and Senator Capito on their bipartisan Congressional Review Act Resolutions of Disapproval that will protect hardworking Americans from the president’s unauthorized regulatory overreach and economically disastrous effects. I look forward to the formal filing next week and will work to ensure the resolutions make their way from the Environment and Public Works Committee to the floor as fast as possible. These CRAs are intended to make it very clear to the international community that the majority of Congress does not support the president’s climate agenda. The majority of Congress does not support any effort to fund his climate agenda, and any associated promises made by this administration, whether through political or legal means, will be short-lived.”


Inhofe is an original cosponsor to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) Congressional Review Act (CRA) Resolution of Disapproval that will rescind the carbon emissions standard for new power plants, and an original cosponsor to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito’s (R-W.Va.) resolution that will rescind the carbon emissions standard for existing power plants. The Senate EPW Committee alongside Capito’s Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee held six hearings this year examining the carbon regulations and heard from a diverse group of experts on the numerous legal, procedural and technical criticisms. These rules will cost over $192 billion, increase the price of electricity, reduce grid reliability, and have no considerable impact on the environment. They lack legal justification and face significant obstacles in Congress and the courts.

On Feb. 11, the Senate EPW Committee held a hearing, Oversight Hearing: Examining EPA’s Proposed Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rules from New, Modified, and Existing Power Plants, to examine the proposed rules, its potential impacts and obtain a general status update.  Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, testified.

On Mar. 11, the Senate EPW Committee held a hearing, Examining State Perspectives of the EPA’s proposed carbon dioxide emissions rule for existing power plants, to hear from state regulators responsible for compliance with the existing source proposal.

On Mar. 23, the Senate EPW Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety held a hearing in Beckley, West Virginia, Hearing to Examine Impacts of EPA’s Carbon Regulations in Coal-dependent West Virginia.

On May 5, the Senate EPW Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety held a hearing, Legal Implications of the Clean Power Plan, to examine the legal issues surrounding EPA’s carbon regulations.

On Jun. 23, the Senate EPW Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety held a legislative hearing on the ARENA Act (S.1324) and on the impacts of EPA’s proposed carbon regulations on energy costs for American businesses, rural communities and family. 

On May 13, Senator Capito introduced the ARENA Act as the principal legislative vehicle to roll back the President’s so-called Clean Power Plan.  Inhofe was an original cosponsor.

On Jul. 8, the Senate EPW Committee held a hearing, Road to Paris: Examining the President’s International Climate Agenda and Implications for Domestic Environmental Policy, to examine the president’s Climate Action Plan with a particular focus on his international goals in the context of the ongoing international climate negotiations.

On Aug. 3, Inhofe released a statement in response to President Obama’s finalization of the so-called Clean Power Plan as announced by EPA.

On Aug. 4, the Senate EPW Committee released a Majority Staff Oversight Report titled, Obama’s Carbon Mandate: An Account of Collusion, Cutting Corners, and Costing Americans Billions. The report is the product of an ongoing investigation by committee Republicans on EPA’s development of Obama’s climate rules.  The full report can be read here.

On Aug. 5, the Senate EPW Committee Republicans marked up the ARENA Act, despite the Democrats walking out of the markup and further illustrating their lack of commitment to addressing the flaws in the president’s carbon mandates.

On Sept. 29, the Senate EPW Committee held a hearing, Economy-wide Implications of President Obama’s Air Agenda, to hear from Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for the EPA Office of Air and Radiation.

The American people and Congress have spoken out against the federal government regulating carbon emissions through the following votes: 

  • July 25, 1997, the Senate passed the Byrd-Hagel resolution unanimously with a  vote of 95-0 state that it was not the sense of the Senate that the United States should be a signatory to the Kyoto protocol.
  • Oct. 30, 2003, the Senate defeated the Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship Act, an effort to cap carbon emissions at the 2000 level, by a vote of 43 to 55.
  • June 22, 2005, the Senate once again defeated the Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship Act, another attempt to impose mandatory caps on carbon, by a vote of 38-46.
  • June 6, 2008, the Senate defeated the Warner-Lieberman Climate Security Act, to cap carbon emissions at 63 percent below 2005 levels by 2050, by a vote of 48-36.
  • In 2009, the Waxman-Markey Clean Energy and Security Act, which would have established a variant of an emissions trading plan, was never brought up for a vote under a Democrat-controlled Congress.