Inhofe: Oil and gas don’t cause pollution

Some videos simply need to be seen to be believed.

Yes, on the Senate floor yesterday, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OIL), said oil and gas are pollution free:

People complain that we are buying “” importing from the Middle East “” oil and gas. And then they find out that we have it all right here. We don’t have to do that. If their argument there is “Well, we don’t want to use oil and gas because we think it pollutes” “” which it doesn’t “” but if that’s their argument, then why are we willing to import it from Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East?

Just for the record, the Natural Resources Defense Council wrote in a 2008 report:

Oil and gas drilling operations can release a number of hazardous pollutants, including hydrogen sulfide, benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, and diesel exhaust. Exposure is known to lead to short-term illnesses, cancer, or even death. For example, benzene and formaldehyde are both known to cause cancer, and diesel exhaust contains a number of compounds known to cause cancer. Emissions can come from oil and gas itself, chemical additives used in drilling, or fuel combustion.

And Think Progress further notes the obvious:

Of course there are also oil spills; big oil spills put approximately 37 million gallons of oil into the world’s oceans each year. Several hundred million more gallons wind up in the waterways through other means, such as air pollution.

For Inhofe, it’s not enough to absurdly assert that global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”  Now it turns out pollution of all kind is a hoax.  What’s next — coal is actually clean?

14 Responses to Inhofe: Oil and gas don’t cause pollution

  1. Lou Grinzo says:

    This kind of ridiculous statement is what prompted me to invent the Inhofe Scale in March, 2007.

    Honestly, I have to ask: Who are the Dems running against this guy? A serial killer with bad breath and no fashion sense? Or is his continued presence in that body simply a sign that his constituents want a Senator to be a relentless cheerleader for their economic issues, regardless of how much of reality he has to ignore in the process?

  2. Jeff Huggins says:

    “Pollution”, The American Chemical Society, CO2, and Energy Independence

    How can we have nonsense like that accepted in the Senate? Who contributes to that guy, really?

    A few thoughts . . .

    First, it seems to me that people who want to confuse and mislead do so a lot today by making use of the confusing distinction between “pollutants” (of the conventional sort) and CO2. All sorts of people are making claims that certain energy sources are “clean” or “pollution free” when they generate huge amounts of CO2. We need a new terminology, or better clarity, or fewer people trying to mislead. All three would be great.

    Second, as we know here (but as somebody better remind Inhofe, repeatedly, on the Senate floor and on TV), gasoline generates a huge amount of CO2. Using one gallon of gasoline as fuel generates between 19 pounds and 20 pounds of CO2, and that only includes the CO2 generated from the gasoline itself. (It doesn’t include CO2 generated during the drilling, production, transportation, and refining processes to get the gasoline to you in the first place.)

    Third, in case anyone would like to read the official Position Statement on Global Climate Change of the American Chemical Society, which claims to be the world’s largest scientific society, here it is:

    The Position Statement is clear about CO2 and what we should be doing energy-wise to get off of our addiction to CO2-producing energy sources. Someone should suggest it to Inhofe and read it to him on the Senate floor.

    Finally, where does he get his information that says we have enough fossil fuel reserves here to become energy independent? Just the other day, there was a very good documentary on ABC, on the oil industry, and it made (reminded us of) the point that trying to drill our way to energy independence would be a fool’s task (my own selection of words). Estimated oil resources in the U.S. aren’t nearly big enough for that. Of course, if someone adds together all oil, all gas, and all coal, that’s a lot of black, CO2-producing stuff. But still, those are simply not renewable resources. The more we become addicted to them in the short term, and the more we invest in them, the larger we make the eventual problem. We have to make the transition. Politicians are not supposed to be short-sighted non-thinkers, to pick a term.

    But, what can the media do to provide the straightforward truth and to shine the spotlight on this guy?



  3. Brian M says:

    Wow. Just, wow.

  4. My head hurts trying to evaluate whether he actually believes his own words, or whether he is a willing carbon pimp, or whether time under lobbyists has caused this behavior. Truly puzzling.

  5. Richard L says:

    I was told not too long ago that many states have no limits on campaign financing. Possibly only one or two large industries could fund a candidates entire campaign. I haven’t spent time verifying this, but it seems to explain the biased comments that seem to pervade our ‘leadership’

  6. ecostew says:

    Very scary when you realize that he was just re-elected.

  7. Even scarier when you realize this climate denier cult leader has a big say on our energy and climate policy and that Barbara Boxer has to make believe Inhofe is anything but the Senator from Exxon.

    No American in government today has done more to bring the worst impacts of climate change home to all of us. No foreign terrorist could ever hope to wreck the havoc that Inhofe is, and will be, responsible for.

  8. cougar_w says:

    There is a sizable part of the American electorate that wants people to say things like this. If only to “put it to those enviro-wackos” who are becoming a threat to their Sacred American Way of Life.

    My parents are those kind of people, and say those kinds of things. RV-driving cross-country early retirees who are going to enjoy their well-earned golden years even if it kills someone. Which it most likely will. We don’t talk any more, for a number of reasons.


  9. #7 Creative Greenius… you are spot on.

    If there are future historians, they will judge terrorism to be the Maginot Line of civilization.

  10. Chris Winter says:

    Lou Grinzo wrote: “Or is his continued presence in that body simply a sign that his constituents want a Senator to be a relentless cheerleader for their economic issues, regardless of how much of reality he has to ignore in the process?”

    I’m sure that’s the answer, and fossil-fuel interests are happy to help. In researching this earlier I found that only John Cornyn got more money from oil and gas interests during the 2002 election.

    This site has some more detail:

  11. Thank you for mentioning that Benzene is a carcinogen. In fact, benzene is one of the strongest cancer causing agents known. Benzene is found in both crude oil and coal.

  12. PS: Scented candles release benzene when burned.

  13. afrjc says:

    He’s got to be referring to the idea that CO2 itself is (or isn’t) a pollutant, right? I.e., CO2, it’s natural, it’s life giving, right — how could that be a pollutant? Regulate it as a pollutant? Crazy environmental over-reach.

    Totally misguided argument, but that seems the clear candidate for what he thinks he’s talking about.

  14. Gary K says:

    I would really like to see the EPA-OBD II Annual Vehicle Emissions Inspection Law closely examined, and changed.As it stands right now, it is entirely possible for any Gasoline powered Vehicle, from 1996 to the present, to fail it’s Emissions Inspection, for not emitting enough polluting Exhaust Emissions ! All such Vehicles have on board Oxygen [O2] Exhaust Sensors.These O2 Sensors are set up to detect a level of polluting Exhaust Emissions that would indicate that Gasoline is being consumed by an Engine at 14.7 parts of Air to 1 part of Fuel.If there is a low level of Oxygen, and a high level of Pollution, a Vehicle will fail it’s Emissions Inspection, as well it should.But, Gasoline can be safely vaporized into a mixture that is 100 parts of Air to 1 part of Fuel.With this, even the largest SUV could easily get 50 + MPG, and emit a fraction of the Emissions of a conventional 14.7/1 Fuel System, with an increase in Power, and much longer Engine life.I’m not the first to figure this out.Far from it ! For proof, do a search on [the late] Tom Ogle, and Charles Nelson Pogue.Then, go to, and scan down the page to just before the update.But, even if it is not to be believed that Fuel Vaporization is entirely possible, it’s illegal to even attempt to do so, with any Vehicle, 13 years old, or newer.O2 Sensors are set up to detect that Fuel is being consumed at 14.7/1. A mixture of 100 / 1 will not emit enough Polluting Exhaust Emissions to register on O2 Sensors.When such a Vehicle is connected to an OBD II Emissions Inspection Analyzer, an O2 Sensor Failure Code will be generated, which will result in a failed Emissions Inspection.O2 Sensor Exemptions are permitted for Vehicles that have been legally converted to operate on Natural Gas, Propane, or Hydrogen, and are Registered as such.But not for vaporized Gasoline.Thus, it is entirely possible, under this EPA-OBD II Vehicle Emissions Inspection Law, for any Gasoline powered Vehicle, 13 years old, or newer, to fail it’s Emissions Test, for not emitting enough polluting Exhaust Emissions ! As long as this insane 14.7/1 Law that only benefits Big Oil remains in effect, the only way to make Vehicles more “efficient” will be to make them lighter, and smaller.This has got to change ! I have asked the Question many times ; “Why is it illegal for any Gasoline powered Vehicle, 13 Years old, or newer, to emit too little polluting Exhaust Emissions”? So far, not one Big Oil Executive, Politician, or Concerned Environmentalist can, or will answer the Question.Those that have replied can’t seem to come up with an Answer either.Can you ?