The Environment Protection Agency’s landmark mercury and air toxics standards, announced in December, would reduce pollutants from coal power plants, saving 11,000 lives, prevent 130,000 asthma attacks and avoid 4,700 heart attacks. But Sen. James Inhofe has found the required 30 Senators to bring the rule to a Senate vote.
In an event with FreedomWorks, a participant posed the question to Inhofe (at 27:00): “Can we really trust companies to protect our natural resources without the institution of the EPA?” Inhofe, a climate denier who has attempted to circumvent EPA rules because they lack “science,” did not think anyone has said the EPA doesn’t have a place:
INHOFE: I don’t think anyone has said you want to eliminate the EPA altogether. If you look at the Clean Air regulations they were good. They worked. If you look back to the Bush administration we had the clear skies act that they refused to act on that would have done away with SO2, NOx, mercury, real pollutants. We’re not talking about that. There needs to be some regulation there but the regulation needs to be based on science and theirs is not based on science.
But Inhofe really doesn’t need to look far to find many Republicans who want to “abolish” the EPA. Last year, ThinkProgress spoke to six current and recent GOP lawmakers aiming to end the agency, and Senate Republicans voted to end the EPA by combining it with the Department of Energy, with 15 GOP co-sponsors. And Rep. Stephen Fincher recently said “We must cut the EPA’s legs off.”
And of course, Inhofe has attempted to block coal and oil oversight — the climate denier has claimed there’s no science for it. However, Inhofe’s interests do not lie with the hundreds of thousands of Americans who would benefit from mercury reduction, but with his oil and coal donors.