Senator Inhofe Responds

By January 24, 2008Global Warming

From the opening statement from Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee:

I would have to say I was surprised that Senator Boxer would invite a Bush Cabinet official to participate in a political event, and to be honest Mr. Johnson, if you had agreed to attend a political event like that I would have been unhappy with you.

This political event set a very negative tone for the Committee’s handling of this issue. I am a strong proponent of vigorous oversight to ensure that the nation’s laws are carried out in the manner intended by Congress, and to ensure the executive branch is faithfully discharging its mission. But today’s hearing is not that kind of hearing. Rather, it is theater.

There have been charges the Administration has been tardy with documents, but EPA has been asked to collect and turn over large amounts of material, all of which needs to go through the normal process of review by agency lawyers. The initial request gave only two weeks bracketing the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in which to respond. Where was the outrage the rhetoric when the Clinton Administration was repeatedly late in producing documents for the Committee? And as I recall, the Clinton EPA was typically given far more time than the constraints placed on this EPA.

When we focus on the substance of the debate, it seems clear to me that the waiver petition should be denied, and I encourage Administrator Johnson to formally make a final decision to do so.

Carbon is a global issue, not a local one, Inhofe observes correctly. And California’s temperatures are declining. So how has the state has been harmed by warming?

We’ll link to the Senator’s entire statement when it becomes available.

UPDATE (10:30 p.m.) Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) explains the reasons he supports a waiver and registers his strong disagreement with the EPA’s decision — making the points in a forceful, decent and policy-oriented fashion. Good.

The committee has now posted the opening statements of the witnesses. Here is Administrator Johnson’s statement.

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