Inhofe: EPA too powerful, could damage economy
BY JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau
Saturday, July 12, 2008
WASHINGTON — While others criticized the Bush administration's inaction on greenhouse gases, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe warned Friday that it has put in place a scenario that will bankrupt the U.S. economy.
A key player in the years-long debate over climate change, the Oklahoma Republican agreed that using the Clean Air Act to put new regulations in place would be an unprecedented expansion of the Environmental Protection Agency's authority that would impact every household.
"Obviously the concept of regulating carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act is flawed and the act must be amended by Congress," Inhofe said.
"Today's notice should concern all lawmakers; no one should want the EPA to exercise the kind of power and authority that the career staff at EPA contemplates."
Last month, he said, the Senate rejected a "cap-and-trade" proposal that would allow companies to buy or sell allowances depending on their level of pollution.
"It is ironic that the EPA has proposed an even more economically destructive scheme this close to that bill's demise," Inhofe said.
"If Congress does not act, then the resulting regulations could be the largest regulatory intrusion into Americans' personal lives, a nightmare scenario.
"Big Brother is alive and well in the career ranks at the EPA."
Inhofe's strong comments came after the administration's decision that it would not regulate greenhouse gases despite a Supreme Court ruling that the government was authorized to do so under the Clean Air Act.
What specifically drew Inhofe's concern was the EPA's Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking soliciting public input.
Key Democrats also criticized the administration but for not moving forward with a plan.
"The Bush administration decision today to effectively reject regulation of global warming pollution under the Clean Air Act creates a clear and present danger to the American people," Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said.
"Despite the Supreme Court's finding that EPA was ducking its responsibility under the law to control global warming emissions, the Bush administration continues to block all action."
Boxer is chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Inhofe serves as that panel's top Republican.
Jim Myers (202) 484-1424