WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today participated in a Senate colloquy with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sens. Shelley Moore-Capito (R – W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (D – N.D.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) on the introduction of two Congressional Review Act (CRA) Resolutions of Disapproval in the Senate against the president’s carbon emission mandates for new and existing power plants. Inhofe’s floor speech focused on how the process of a CRA, particularly as it relates to the president’s Climate Action Plan, forces a White House administration and unelected federal bureaucrats to be held accountable to the public.
Inhofe opened with, "I appreciate the fact that our colleagues from West Virginia, North Dakota, Kentucky and all of us are getting together on this in a bipartisan way. I think it's worth repeating to make sure everyone understands where we are on this thing. A CRA is a congressional review act which is what allows an elected person who is answerable to the public to weigh in on these decisions that are made by the president, who can't run again for office, and by the unelected bureaucrats that are destroying this country.”
Inhofe specifically noted how the EPA, in refusing to testify before the Senate EPW Committee on the president’s international climate agreement, is blocking Congressional oversight of the agency’s role in carrying out the president’s commitment to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 26-28 percent by 2025.
In reference to a canceled Oct. 20 full committee hearing, Inhofe said, "We tried to get the EPA to come in and testify as witnesses as to how the president plans to move to the percentage of power that's going to need to be generated by the year 2030 by renewables. They won't testify because they don't have a plan. They don't know how they will do it.”
The final Clean Power Plan announced on Aug. 3 seeks to achieve a significant portion of the president’s promised emissions reductions by relying on a federally mandated shift towards renewables, mostly of wind and solar energy that currently make up less than 5 percent of the nation’s electricity grid and took decades to achieve. The Clean Power Plan, the EPA’s regulation for existing power plants, assumes Americans will be able to quickly reduce their fossil fuel dependency until renewables are 28 percent of electricity production by 2030.
Furthermore, environmentalists, legal experts, government leaders, and others continue to question the president’s ability to obtain his overall objective of 26-28 percent domestic emission reductions, which largely relies on the unlikely implementation of the Clean Power Plan. The EPW Committee highlighted these concerns in a July 8 hearing titled the Road to Paris and in a July 8 letter to President Obama requesting a detailed response to how these promised emission reductions will be achieved. To date, the administration has failed to answer requests from Senators, outside groups, and the general public on what further action would need to be taken in order for the United States to keep the president’s climate agreement promise he intends to solidify while at COP21 in Paris next month.