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Senator Inhofe And The Heartland Institute Roll Out Underwhelming Campaign To Slash The EPA

Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe joins the Heartland Institute at the Capitol building this morning to unveil a new campaign to rein in the “rogue” Environmental Protection Agency.

Inhofe is best known for his tirades against established climate science; the fringe Heartland Institute is best known for its billboard campaign comparing people concerned about climate change to the Unabomber.

The Environmental Protection Agency is best known for protecting America’s air and water.

The two partners say they have collected 16,000 signatures from people calling on lawmakers to slash the EPA’s budget by 80 percent and stop it from regulating carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas responsible for warming the planet.

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16,000 sounds like a lot of signatures. That is, until they’re compared to the four million comments from people who say they support the EPA.

Over the last two years, as the agency has finalized new regulations for mercury, air toxics, and global warming pollution, groups supportive of such measures have acquired record numbers of comments in favor of the rules.

Earlier this year, environmental and public health groups collected and delivered more than 3.2 million comments supporting EPA’s carbon pollution standard for power plants; in 2011, they collected more than 800,000 comments supporting EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standard; and so far in 2012, groups have collected more than 420,000 comments supporting the EPA’s soot pollution standard.

Environmental organizations say the 3.2 million comments in support of EPA regulation of CO2 is the most of any federal rule, ever.

Once again: that’s more than four million comments in support of new EPA rules versus 16,000 signatures against them.

Considering the outcome of the election earlier this month, that disparity isn’t much of a surprise.

In the two months leading up to the November presidential election, groups specifically touting oil, coal, and gas spent more than $31 million on television ads. Throughout the whole campaign, pro-fossil fuel interests outspent environmental and clean energy interests 4–1.

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However, in the end, environmental groups won nearly every single race they targeted, bringing in some key allies to the Senate and keeping President Obama in the White House.

One post-election poll from Zogby Analytics showed that 65 percent of voters say elected officials should act now to reduce carbon pollution. That poll also found that 44 percent of voters believe the government is doing too little to protect clean air, clean water, and other natural resources. Only 14 percent say the government is doing too much in this area.