Sen. James Inhofe plans to use his position on one of the Senate’s most powerful committees to challenge the Obama administration’s push to regulate carbon dioxide emissions and expand federal power over energy and the environment.
The Oklahoma Republican says he will use his chairmanship of the Environment and Public Works Committee to scale back Environmental Protection Agency global warming regulations and other rules that impact drilling, water supplies and private property rights.
“If you talk to people in the real world they’ll tell you that EPA regulations are so onerous they can’t be competitive,” Inhofe told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “President Obama is trying to do the things he couldn’t do through legislation through regulation.”
Inhofe is set to become chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, which has the largest jurisdiction of any Senate committee. One tactic Inhofe specifically mentioned was using the Congressional Review Act — a little-known law that allows Congress to review and possibly vote down agency rules before they are passed.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, threatened using the CRA last year to stymie EPA regulatory efforts. Though McConnell’s CRA push was stopped dead in its tracks by a Government Accountability Office review saying he could not use the law to halt EPA climate rules.
“We’re gonna be able to use the CRA,” Inhofe said, adding he’s confident Democrats will go against the White House on certain issues that could cost them their re-election bids in 2016.
Inhofe and other Republicans could use the CRA to stall EPA regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. These rules are some of the costliest ever proposed and will result in more coal-fired power plants being retired and higher electricity rates.
EPA rules require that new coal-fired powered plants use carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology, which is not viable without government subsidies. Agency rules also mandate that states find ways to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants.
The EPA announced Wednesday that both these rules would be finalized in mid-summer 2015, giving Senate Republicans ample time to put forward a CRA challenging both global warming rules.
Inhofe also noted his committee would hold hearings on the science behind global warming, countering claims made by Democrats that “the science is settled” when it comes to global temperature rises.
“We’re going to have a committee hearing on the science,” Inhofe told TheDCNF. “People are going to hear the other side of the story.”
Indeed, global temperatures have not been following even the most sophisticated climate models, virtually all of which predicted much more rapid warming than the Earth has experienced.
Satellite temperature records even show there has been no global warming for 18 years and three months. Surface temperature records also show a pause in global warming for the last 10 to 15 years.
A lack of warming, however, has not stopped the Obama administration from moving forward with a costly climate agenda. The president has resorted to using his executive powers to pass his agenda, which Inhofe thinks could lend to a very unpopular legacy for Obama.
“I believe Obama is going to set a record on unpopularity,” Inhofe said, adding that this unpopularity could attract Democratic votes for Republican bills to create distance with the president.
But Inhofe’s first priority is neither the EPA nor global warming science. He first plans to take on transportation issues, including getting another major transportation bill passed to try and save money and stop short-term bills from passing.
“My goal in the new Congress is to put America back on the map as the place to do business,” Inhofe said in a statement. “I plan to pursue this by using my leadership positions to improve our nation’s transportation infrastructure, rein in EPA’s job-killing regulations and rebuild our national defense.”
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