Inhofe

Pursuing Publicity

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U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, one of the world’s best-known skeptics of global warming science, weighed in recently with his typical hyperbole over a report warning that climate change could threaten our country’s national security.

The report, prepared by the CAN Military Advisory Board, a group of retired military officers, argues, “The nature and pace of observed climate changes—and an emerging scientific consensus on their projected consequences—pose severe risks for our national security.” It goes on to point out:

The projected impacts of climate change—heat waves, intense rainfall, floods and droughts, rising sea levels, more acidic oceans, and melting glaciers and arctic sea ice—not only affect local communities but also, in the aggregate, challenge key elements of our National Power. Key elements of National Power include political, military, economic, social, infrastructure, and information systems.

Inhofe, of course, wasn’t buying any of it. In response to the report, according to The New York Times Inhofe said:

There is no one in more pursuit of publicity than a retired military officer. . . . I look back wistfully at the days of the Cold War. Now you have people who are mentally imbalanced, with the ability to deploy a nuclear weapon. For anyone to say that any type of global warming is anywhere close to the threat that we have with crazy people running around with nuclear weapons, it shows how desperate they are to get the public to buy this.”

Note the ad hominem attack against retired military officers. This is coming from the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Inhofe’s wistful Cold War memories have absolutely nothing to do with global warming or how we should respond to it. He can’t argue with evidence so Inhofe attacks and qualifies. So who is really seeking publicity and who is really “desperate”?

There’s a consensus among the world’s climate scientists that manmade carbon emissions, produced by the burning of fossil fuels, are causing the planet to warm at an alarming rate.

Inhofe, 79, is expected to easily win reelection this November. He represents a state in which the legislature just voted for permanent tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, and he has received $318,850 in campaign contributions from that same industry since 2009.

Another EPA Bashing

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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.

Inhofe EPW Theatrics

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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.

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