In April, the Environmental Protection Agency “formally declared carbon dioxide and five other heat-trapping gases to be pollutants that endanger public health and welfare, setting in motion a process that will lead to the regulation of the gases for the first time in the United States.” Though President Obama has said that he would “prefer that Congress address global warming rather than have the EPA tackle it through administrative action,” the EPA’s finding allows the agency to move forward with regulations to limit greenhouse gas pollution to build a clean-energy economy.
In a speech for the Heartland Institute yesterday, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) said that the Senate could just “stall” any EPA regulation:
INHOFE: Don’t be distressed when you see the House passes some kind of cap-and-trade bill. And you know it could be worse and she could still pass it, so it’ll pass there. The EPA has threatened to regulate this through the Clean Air Act. That isn’t going to work in my opinion because we can stall that until we get a new president – that shouldn’t be a problem.
Make no mistake, Inhofe is an avowed opponent of EPA regulation. On the day that the EPA administrator Lisa Jackson announced the endangerment finding, Inhofe released a statement arguing that “Congress should pass a simple, narrowly-targeted bill that stops EPA in its tracks.”
Unsurprisingly, Inhofe is also against a cap-and-trade program, which he calls “another bad option.” In his Heartland Speech, Inhofe confidently predicted that he will be able to block any cap-and-trade legislation that passes the House, saying that “in the Senate it will not pass” thanks to obstructionists like him.
INHOFE: So, let me just tell you what I think. I’m right on schedule here. I want to wind this up and I want to tell you what’s going to happen from this point forward in my opinion. First of all, the House will pass anything. Nancy Pelosi has the votes to pass anything. Don’t be distressed when you see the House passes some kind of cap-and-trade bill. And you know it could be worse and she could still pass it, so it’ll pass there. The EPA has threatened to regulate this through the Clean Air Act. That isn’t going to work in my opinion because we can stall that until we get a new president – that shouldn’t be a problem. But while While the House will pass the bill — a lot of times there are questions here because some of you might not agree with me — in the Senate, they’re not going to be able to pass it. You guys – it’s just not going to happen.
Now we have a history of what’s happened in the Senate. We had the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Remember that’s where we passed by a 94-1, I think it was, saying we don’t want to ratify any treaty – the Senate doesn’t – that doesn’t include developing nations with developed nations. Well, that stuck with us. And yet, with very popular people, like McCain and Liebermann coming up in ’03 and then again in ’05 – the reason I’m going to tell you that they don’t have the votes, it’s not going to pass is that in ’05, that’s when I was on the floor for eight hours a day, five days, or about 10 hours a days, 50 hours – is that only two senators would come to the floor that would help me with this because I was taking on McCain and Liebermann on this silly issue. And you fast forward to one year ago today, 2008 – Warner-Liebermann. It didn’t take five days, it took two days – 23 senators came down to help me out on this issue, because I told Barbara Boxer to you know, get over it, get a life. You lost, we won. It will pass in the House, in the Senate it will not pass. And her latest vote and she won’t admit this, but it’s 34 votes and it takes 60 votes in the Senate. Maybe the people who wrote our constitution knew what they were talking about after all.