Matt Dempsey (202) 224-9797

David Lungren (202) 224-5642

Inhofe Vows to Block Catch-All Land and Water Package

Willing to Work on Improving Individual Bills; Costs Must Come Down

Washington, D.C.-Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, issued the following statement today in response to news reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to move an omnibus package of land and water bills.

"I stand in firm opposition to this package, the contents of which are still uncertain," Sen. Inhofe said.  "From what I understand thus far, it will include, among others, the Chesapeake Bay bill, sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin and others.  I sincerely appreciate Sen. Cardin's willingness to work with me in shaping this legislation.  He has extended his hand in true bipartisan fashion.  Nevertheless, I believe this legislation still needs significant changes, principally with respect to restricting the broad, and unprecedented, scope of authority it grants to EPA over state permitting programs.  I look forward to continuing working with Sen. Cardin to see if a bipartisan compromise can be reached.

"But it won't be reached today or if this bill is thrown together with several other bills, many of which are too expansive and set unrealistic authorization levels.  The first step to controlling government spending is for the authorizers to set reasonable and achievable authorization levels. I am perfectly willing to work with my colleagues to advance some of these bills individually, but we need time to examine the changes that have been made since they emerged from the EPW committee, and we must consider their effect on the deficit. 

"If, however, Sen. Reid insists on moving these bills as an omnibus package, then I will place a hold on it to ensure the American people have more time to understand the policy, regulatory and fiscal impacts of these bills."