Jim Inhofe Declares War on Obama's Overregulation of Environment

Image: Jim Inhofe Declares War on Obama's Overregulation of Environment

Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 11:01 AM

By John Gizzi

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Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma last week launched a counteroffensive against the latest round of regulatory rules from the Environmental Protection Agency, charging that President Barack Obama is "trying to do through regulation what he couldn't do through law."

"The crown jewel of the administration's overregulation is 'cap and trade,'" Inhofe told reporters, referring to the mandatory cap on CO2 emissions long supported by environmentalists to curb what they warn will be global warming.

In moving against regulations designed to bring about the cap and trade measures that have never been voted on by Congress, Inhofe introduced a bill to prohibit the EPA administrator from issuing a final rule until the agency conducts an economic analysis as required under the Clean Air Act.

Under his bill, Inhofe explained, "you cannot issue any new regulations unless you list just what impact they will have on jobs and the economy."

Inhofe, ranking Republican on the Senate environment committee, was the first member of Congress to speak out against the concept of global warming and wrote a controversial book on it, "The Greatest Hoax, How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future." His criticism was given greater public hearing and support after  Climategate, the 2009 hacking of computers at the University of East Anglia that seemed to show that many scientists had exaggerated data dealing with global warming.

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Noting that Section 321(a) of the Clean Air Act requires an analysis of the economic impact of any regulation, the senator said his bill would put teeth into the section.

Adding further "bite" to his bill, Inhofe revealed that he plans to file a Congressional Review Act on any major regulation from the EPA issued by the administration. Filing a CRA requires Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, to permit an up-or-down vote in the Senate on whether to overturn that regulation.

Under Senate rules, the signatures of 30 senators are required to file the CRA. Inhofe voiced confidence he can get the signatures with ease, and pointed out that when he offered his legislation to the Senate Republican Steering Committee, "it had no trouble getting 29 co-sponsors."

When asked by Newsmax if his bill dealing with EPA accountability had attracted any Democratic co-sponsors, Inhofe replied, "it didn't get any."

In unveiling measures to combat the rules sought by the environmental community, Inhofe laid the groundwork for an upcoming midterm election battle with a Democratic donor vowing to spend $100 billion for candidates who advance the environmental agenda.

In February, hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer invited potential backers to his California ranch and urged them to match his $50 billion that he plans to spend on behalf of environmentalist Democrats and to defeat global warming critics.

Inhofe said Steyer "is going to spend all he can to win on [global warming]. He's really trying to regenerate that issue."

Even before his California conclave, Steyer was a player in Democrat Terry McAuliffe's narrow win for Virginia governor last year over Republican Ken Cuccinelli, who has a long record of criticizing the concept of global warming.

This year, Steyer has signaled one of his top targets is Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who has voiced Inhofe-style doubts about global warming. Steyer has also made clear one of his favorite candidates is Democratic congressman and U.S. Senate hopeful Bruce Braley of Iowa, a vigorous believer in global warming and supporter of legislation to deal with it.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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