406 Dirksen EPW Hearing Room

James M. Inhofe


Inhofe Statement for Hearing: Examining State Perspectives of the EPA’s Proposed Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rules for Existing Power Plants


WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, delivered the following opening statement today at a full committee hearing entitled, “Examining State Perspectives of the EPA’s proposed carbon dioxide emissions rules for existing power plants.” Witnesses included Ellen Nowak, chairperson of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin; Todd Parfitt, director of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality; Thomas Easterly, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management; Mary D. Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board; and Michael J. Myers, Chief, affirmative Litigation Section, Environmental Protection Bureau, New York State Attorney General.

As prepared for delivery:


“We are here today to talk with state officials about the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed CO2 regulations for existing power plants. The so-called Clean Power Plan is unprecedented in scope, complexity, and requirements it will impose on state governments. 

The proposal undermines the longstanding concept of cooperative federalism under the Clean Air Act where the federal government is meant to work in partnership with the states to achieve the underlying goals. Instead, this rule forces states to redesign the ways they generate, manage and use electricity in a manner that satisfies President Obama’s extreme, climate agenda.

To date  –  

32 states oppose this rule [refer to state chart];

12 states, including Oklahoma, are suing the agency over a lack of authority to promulgate the proposal;

9 states have passed resolutions that express limits to the proposal’s application; and

5 states have passed laws that would limit the proposal’s application 

Had EPA engaged in a meaningful dialogue with all the states, the agency would not be rushing ahead to impose such an unfair, unworkable, and likely illegal regulation.

While the EPA is busy selling this as a plan to save the world from global warming, we know that this rule will have miniscule impacts on the environment.

In fact, last week during the EPA Budget hearing, Administrator McCarthy admitted that the agency has yet to do any modeling that would measure the proposal’s impacts on temperatures and sea level rise. There is a reason for that.

NERA, a highly respected economic modeling and analysis firm, used EPA’s models and numbers and found that after spending $479 billion over 15 years, we will see double-digit electricity price increases in 43 states, reduced grid reliability resulting in voltage collapse, and cascading outages. However, the Clean Power Plan will reduce CO2 concentrations by less than 0.5%, global average temperature rise will be reduced by only 0.016 degrees Fahrenheit, and sea level rise will be reduced by 0.3 millimeters – the thickness of three sheets of paper. 

Further, any perceived “benefits” will be rendered pointless by the continued emissions growth in India and China [refer to U.S. CO2 Emissions v. China & India Chart]. 

These results, or lack thereof, show that this rule is not about protecting the environment or saving lives of the local citizenry. This proposal is about expanding the government’s control into every aspect of American lives. As MIT climate scientist Richard Lindzen has said, “Controlling carbon is a bureaucrats dream. If you control carbon, you control life.”  

EPA’s rushed timeline, impractical assumptions, and arbitrary mandates pay no mind to the fact that this will be damaging to state economies and local residents. Their proposals are nothing more than a blatant and selfish power-grab. 

We have been through these arguments multiple times before --most recently when the President failed to garner enough support for cap-and-trade under a Democrat controlled House and Senate. This congressional body has been very clear in rejecting that concept and we will be very clear in rejecting the latest iteration. 

Many of the states have expressed similar concerns with the proposal. I thank the witnesses for being here and I look forward to their testimony.”