Sen. Jim Inhofe charged that President Barack Obama's executive order to cut carbon emissions by up to 20 percent seeks to "do through regulation what he couldn't accomplish through legislation."
"The Obama administration's proposal must be seen for what it is: a move motivated solely by politics with little regard for the American consumer or the economy," the three-term Oklahoma Republican said on Saturday in an op-ed piece in USA Today
The presidential order, to be unveiled Monday, would allow states to use cap-and-trade systems, which let companies emitting pollutants buy and sell greenhouse gas emission allowances
. A cap is set on the total number of permits to dispense carbon emissions.
Companies that emit larger amounts of greenhouse gases can buy additional permits from companies that do not need to emit as many.
Inhofe, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said that Congress has rejected cap-and-trade bills at least four times in the past 15 years. Each bill was estimated to cost Americans as much as $400 billion a year in de facto tax increases, he said.
He also cited studies by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce showing that climate change regulations for new and existing power plants would cut an average of 224,000 American jobs each year, while increasing electricity costs by $289 billion.
The new regulations, to be administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, also would reduce overall household incomes by more than $500 billion, the studies show.
Further, the rules "threaten the reliability and affordability of our power grid, will weaken our economy, and drive more people into the unemployment lines," Inhofe said.
Citing Gallup surveys showing that Americans were more concerned about the economy and reducing unemployment than climate change, the senator charged that Obama was "pleasing a donor base" in moving forward with the executive order.
Inhofe noted several recent Democratic fundraisers
Obama attended in California, where such high-profile environmentalists as former Vice President Al Gore, billionaire Tom Steyer, and documentary filmmaker Michael Moore pledged $100 million for climate-change efforts.
"With each speech, media interview, and EPA regulation, President Obama and others are making good on their promises," he said.
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