U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe continues to berate the Environmental Protection Agency with sweeping generalizations and political sloganeering.
Inhofe’s contrarian demeanor as a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee doesn’t really accomplish anything, but it does give all of us a preview of what could happen if Republicans take control of the Senate in the November midterm elections.
In a statement issued last week for an EPW Committee hearing, Inhofe criticizes President Barack Obama and “the EPA’s War on Fossil Fuels” for what he calls a “regulatory onslaught.” It’s sheer political hype.
Inhofe has been arguing against new EPA regulations, primarily the Utility MACT rule, for quite some time now. Maximum Achievable Control Technology Standards were authorized under the 1970 Clean Air Act and have been used to lower the amount of pollution going into the air. Older electric plants, generated by coal, in particular, have been affected by the standards.
Inhofe’s rhetoric on the issue shows he cares little to nothing about pollution and its impact on the environment and our health.
One of Inhofe’s claims is that the loss of electricity to the grid by plant closings or refitting could result in “rolling blackouts,” an argument used by the power industry to delay meeting new standards. Inhofe uses it as a fear mongering tactic. No one wants or is going to tolerate electric blackouts.
In the statement, Inhofe also claims “the Administration is making strides to regulate hydraulic fracturing and methane emissions from the natural gas production and transmission processes, which could further drive up the price of energy and electricity.” Again, note the lack of any regard for the environment. Inhofe is just piling on supposed grievances.
Here’s the bottom line: Manmade carbon and other toxic emissions are polluting the air. The EPA, which was formed under the former President Richard Nixon administration, is tasked with protecting the environment and the health of citizens. What it does isn’t sinister or anti-business. If anything, the EPA doesn’t do enough.
Inhofe, of course, is famous for claiming that global warming is a worldwide hoax committed by liberal scientists intent on bringing down the oil and gas industry. Inhofe has also received more than $1.5 million in campaign contributions from oil and gas interests since 1989. It doesn’t get more politically obvious than that.
Inhofe, 79, has claimed that he will end up as chair of the EPW Committee if Republicans take control of the Senate. If that’s the case, expect EPW Committee meetings to turn into EPA-bashing sessions. That won’t bode well for the planet.
Not that it’s anything new, but U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe issued a rather dramatic and hyperbolic statement related to a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing this week.
Inhofe, a member of the committee, addressed his remarks to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy, complaining that the agency is “out of control.” Inhofe contends the EPA continues to “enact outlandish rules of obscene cost and harm to the economy . . .”
This is fairly typical rhetoric for Inhofe, who has based much of his Senate career on denying the reality of climate-change science and supporting the financial interests of the fossil fuel industry. Oil and gas interests have been Inhofe’s largest campaign donors through the years.
What makes it noteworthy, though, is that Inhofe is claiming that if Republicans gain a majority in the Senate in the upcoming midterm elections, he will once again head the EPW Committee, which could be disastrous to the environment here and, really, throughout the world.
Inhofe’s statement argued rules governing emissions from power plants that use coal will result in lost jobs and higher prices, but these are tired and worn claims that simply ignore the impact and cost of pollution.
Inhofe claims the rules are just a part of the “ . . . EPA’s War on Fossil Fuels.” This is how the statement ends:
. . . EPA’s impact may be coal now, but we know it’s going to be natural gas next. Whether it’s hydraulic fracturing or methane emissions, the EPA is intent to carry out what the Sierra Club has named it’s “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign, just as the EPA did with Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign. We in the Senate have been charged with stewarding this nation, which includes watching out for those who are most vulnerable. The elderly, the poor – these are the people who are most at risk from losing their homes or their health due to skyrocketing electricity bills, which is exactly what will happen under the EPA’s War on Fossil Fuels. It’s our job to watch out for them, and it just so happens that the entity we need to protect them from is a seemingly unlikely source – it’s President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency.
Note the sanctimonious reference to the “elderly, the poor,” as if Inhofe has ever made their concerns and interests a real focus of his Senate political agenda. In fact, his political career has been rooted in helping the wealthy and privileged in our country at the expense of everyone else. Note, too, the standard GOP bashing of President Barack Obama. This type of political rhetoric and grandstanding doesn’t get more hollow than this.
Meanwhile, as Inhofe supposedly frets about the “elderly, the poor” in Washington, his home state of Oklahoma is experiencing a dramatic spike in earthquakes that has been tied to the hydraulic fracturing or fracking drilling process. For many parts of Oklahoma, daily earthquakes are just routine now. Oklahoma had the second highest number of earthquakes in the contiguous U.S. in 2013. Does anyone here think Inhofe will push for stronger regulations in the oil and gas drilling process to stop the earthquake surge here?
Pundits predict Inhofe will easily win reelection this November, and that’s not good for Oklahoma or the planet. If he does become chair of the EPW Committee, it will be even worse.
The news from a large group of scientists warning of the dire effects of global warming and showing the impact of human activity on climate change didn’t create much of a stir here in Oklahoma.
That’s because this is an epicenter of global warming denial, which includes among its adherents U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and the state’s largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. The main basis of the denial is simple, reckless subterfuge: The science behind climate change is actually a global, leftist conspiracy targeting the fossil-fuel industry for extinction. This is nonsense, and it puts us all at risk.
A draft of a report created by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as reported by The New York Times, shows that global warming would push sea levels three feet higher by the end of the century, a catastrophe of epic proportions for the world’s populated coastlines. The draft report also claimed that there’s a 95 percent certainty that carbon emissions produced by human activity are the main cause for the warming, The Times reported.
Scientists have long argued that carbon emissions or greenhouse gases trap heat, which is then radiated back to the earth’s surface. The extra heat leads to the melting of the Arctic ice cap, which raises sea levels. It also causes weather extremes in the form of intensified severe events, such as hurricanes and flooding, that can be highly destructive and expensive. The extra heat also impacts wildlife and the world’s overall eco-systems. It creates new health issues for humans.
The final report, created with the input of more than 800 scientists throughout the world, will be released after an IPCC session in late September, and it’s sure to garner the ire of Inhofe and The Oklahoman. They dismiss climate-change science as alarmist and detrimental to the oil and gas industry. The IPCC won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, along with former Vice President Al Gore, but its critics, such as Inhofe, are relentlessly dismissive of its findings.
Inhofe, who has written a book titled The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, just recently criticized President Barack Obama’s so-called “climate change agenda.” In a somewhat rambling media release, Inhofe said:
I also find it quite interesting that to end this week of coincidental events on climate change alarmism, certain liberal media is showing a climate change special with reportedly no interviews from those challenging the theory. There seems to be a coincidental coordination between the White House, the President’s campaign, and the liberal media that is weaving a false and potentially harmful narrative of alarmism. This agenda will leave our nation less secure, less prosperous and less informed.
In other words, Inhofe, who is running for re-election in 2014, has no intention of backing down anytime soon in the face of growing global-warming evidence. He has been supported consistently in his denial efforts by the editorial page of The Oklahoman, which shares with Inhofe the use of the words “alarmists” or “alarmism” when it comes to climate-change science
The anti-environmental efforts of Inhofe and The Oklahoman are only a blip in the waning decades of The Oil Age. Inhofe’s large campaign contributions from the oil and gas and utility industries show the main reason behind his political motivation. The Oklahoman is now owned by a Colorado billionaire oilman. But how much damage and destruction will humanity have to endure before it wakes up?