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QUOTATIONS FROM CHAIRMAN JIM
Compiled by the Clean Air Trust
November 2002

Senator James Inhofe, R-OK, is expected to become the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in the new Congress. He is expected to launch an effort to "reform" the Clean Air Act. Here are some of his prior comments on the environment.

On EPA's tougher 1997 air quality standards for smog and soot:

  • They used emotions rather than science. -- Address to the Annapolis Center, September 16, 1998.
  • The EPA has suppressed dissenting views within the Administration. They have placed themselves above the law in regards to the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act and the Unfunded Mandates. They have engaged in a pattern of misrepresenting the science and the impacts of their proposed regulations. -- Oversight Hearing Regarding the Proposed Ozone and Particulate Matter Revised Standards, April 29, 1997.
  • There is great uncertainty on the scientific side. When we add that to the uncertainties in the risk assessments, we end up with very dubious results. -- Oversight Hearing Regarding the Proposed Ozone and Particulate Matter Revised Standards, April 24, 1997.
  • EPA Administrator Carol Browner clearly overreached her authority in imposing these standards and setting up a burdensome regulatory apparatus. -- As reported in the Tulsa World, May 15, 1999.
  • I am not deterred in my belief that the EPA's decision-making process is flawed and in need of serious changes. -- Interview with the Tulsa World, March 28, 2002, after a federal appeals court refused to overturn EPA standards for smog and soot. Inhofe vowed to make changing the Clean Air Act a priority if given another term.

On former EPA Administrator Carol Browner:

  • I think we have got a Tokyo Rose running the EPA. -- Remarks to the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, as reported in the Tulsa World, November 18, 1997.

His description of EPA:

  • Gestapo bureaucracy. -- As reported in the Atlanta Constitution, July 25, 1997.

Open door policy to business lobbyists upset about the Clean Air Act:

  • "Our door is open. We'll devote the time needed to solve these problems. Just call Andrew [Wheeler, his staff aide] and I'll sit down with you personally." -- Address to the Annapolis Center, September 16, 1998.

On the Endangered Species Act:

  • America has adopted an attitude that places more value on the life of a critter that on a human being. We want to protect the Spotted Owl, yet we care little for the men and women who lost jobs in the Northwest when the timber industry was virtually shut down. We want to protect the Arkansas River Shiner, a bait fish in Oklahoma, yet we will allow unborn babies to have their brains sucked out in a partial birth abortion. Mr. Chairman, we need to do something. -- Endangered Species Act Reauthorization, September 23, 1997.

Against EPA's plan to clean up diesel fuel and big diesel trucks:

  • This is a regulation which will cause price spikes for fuel over the next ten years, and EPA has done a miserable job in predicting the consequences of this regulation. I believe there will be severe shortages of diesel fuel which will lead to higher prices for truckers, farmers, and the home heating market. It is highly likely that instead of installing the expensive desulfurization equipment many companies will choose to export their diesel instead of selling in the U.S., creating greater shortages. -- June 15, 2000.
  • The EPA has issued a rule that threatens to limit essential diesel supplies to farmers, truckers, bus operators and other users. There is already evidence that government regulations have contributed to constrained supplies and higher prices for gasoline, heating oil, diesel fuel, electric power, natural gas, aviation jet fuel and other energy products. The EPA's extreme, costly and technologically unjustified diesel rule will make it even harder to keep the nation well-supplied with the affordable energy consumers and the economy require. -- Interview with Dow Jones News Service, December 21, 2000.

On re-writing the Clean Air Act:

  • I am not proposing a complete rewrite of the law. Instead of using a club on the Act, which many people think we should, I intend to use a surgeon's scalpel .... What I would like to do at this point is highlight a few of the Clean Air Act's notable successes and notorious failures.

    FAILURES:

    1. Risk Trade-offs. The Act is chasing after pennies of benefits for dollars in costs through its failure of identifying the most cost-effective risks we face as a nation.
    2. Sound science. Policy judgment calls have been confused with Statements of fact regarding the science. As a result the EPA has lost credibility. We need to find a way to involve outside panels of scientists, such as CASAC, more productively in the regulatory process.

    -- Hearing on the Reauthorization of the Clean Air Act, October 14, 1999.

Opposition to new source review:

  • We're an over-regulated society. You don't need these regulations. One bureaucrat can put you out of business. -- Dow Jones News Service, March 27, 2000.
  • Suspend EPA's [enforcement] activities until such time as there has been a thorough review of both the policy and its implications. -- March 23, 2001 letter to Vice President Cheney, co-signed by Sen. John Breaux (D-LA).

Looking to help the oil and gas industry:

  • I hope we can work together and provide some regulatory relief to the oil and gas industry. I am concerned not about any specific rule, but about all pending regulations across the entire agency. -- Comments to EPA Administrator Carol Browner, February 24, 1999.

Optimistic that the Bush Administration will be kinder to oil and gas producers:

  • It's a whole new game now that we have someone other than Clinton in there. -- Interview with Daily Oklahoman, February 7, 2001.

On global warming:

  • I recall that many years ago -- in fact, 48 years ago -- I was in junior high school and I remember a professor who was absolutely convinced that because of the global changes that the southwestern two tiers of States in the United States would slide into the ocean and he gave a very persuasive case. By Senator [Harry] Reid's [D-NV] presence here, we can see that hasn't happened 48 years later. -- Hearing on climate change, July 10, 1997.

His view of EPA's 1999 rules to reduce the sulfur content of gasoline:

  • The fight right now is between the autos and the oilies. I would be on the oilies' side. We have an industry to protect. -- Interview with the Daily Oklahoman, October 30, 1999.

On tougher fuel economy standards:

  • Americans desire safety, comfort and utility in their automobiles, and we want to protect our freedoms. The liberal proposal to impose strict new CAF´┐Ż mandates would undermine this freedom in a manner that is clearly unacceptable to most Americans. In this classic battle about government regulation, I stand with Oklahomans -- for freedom and against unwarranted mandates. -- March 14, 2002.

Gracious treatment of hearing witness, EPA Administrator Carol Browner:

  • Madam Administrator, with all due respect, I'm only asking on the highlighted part where he says, "Do not use the new PM standards until you have the review process behind you," and yet you are doing it and the President said not to do it.

    Ms. Browner: We didn't do what the President told us not to do. We didn't. The standards are premised on ....

    Senator Inhofe: [cutting Browner off] Senator Thomas, and I hope you get a better answer?

    -- Hearing, May 20, 1999.

Opposing a Senate bill to restore the Everglades:

  • While I recognize the Everglades as a national treasure, S. 2797 sets precedents, which I can not, in good conscious, condone. My concerns ranged from: the new precedent which requires the federal government to pay for a portion of operations and maintenance costs; to ... the strong possibility that the Restoring the Everglades, An American Legacy Act will not be considered as a stand alone bill. -- Wednesday September 20, 2000.

On EPA attempts to set tougher water pollution control requirements:

  • A vulgar abuse of power and blatant disregard for the legislative branch of government. -- Letter to President Clinton, as reported in the Tulsa World, July 15, 2000.

On the California energy crisis:

  • I have a very difficult time feeling sorry for people in California. They brought it on themselves. -- Interview with Daily Oklahoman, February 7, 2001.

On the Bush Administration's do-nothing global warming plan for power plants:

  • I applaud the President for his renewed emphasis on the importance of sound science, for his recognition that the science of global warming is far from understood, and that more study is needed. -- Thursday, February 14, 2002.

On emissions from electric power plants:

  • For the purposes of the utility emissions reduction plan I have a number of concerns and questions which I hope we can address today and in the coming months.
    1. I believe it must be a voluntary program.
    2. I have grave concerns regarding CO2, I do not support giving EPA the authority to regulate CO2, even in a voluntary program.

    -- Hearing on the Clean Air Act Reauthorization, May 17, 2000.

On curbing the role of federal environmental enforcers:

  • The States are in the best position to enforce the environmental laws and regulations.

    The EPA should be limited to an oversight role for consistency only and for providing advice to the States. They should not be in the business of second guessing States or playing the big bully on the block. -- June 10, 1997.

On federal bureaucrats:

  • I have a good understanding of the partnership between the Federal government and the local and State governments. I also understand the problems associated with implementing Federal mandates, and when I say Federal mandates I don't just mean the associated costs of the mandates, but the problem of the "one-size fits all" bias of Federal regulations.

    I have often criticized federal bureaucrats, within the Washington beltway, for writing regulations without understanding how they get implemented out in the States. Part of the problem is the fact that what works in one State or one Region, may not necessarily work in another .... Unfortunately, I think the EPA has tried to micro-manage the implementation too much and has not given the States the flexibility Congress envisioned. -- September 27, 2000.

On alleged collusion between EPA and environmental groups:

  • Another area which is very important but also more difficult is the possible collusion between Environmentalist suing the Agency and Agency employees and the effect of the resulting consent decrees. We are now in a position of consent decrees negotiated between the Agency and environmentalist organizations driving public policy and ignoring the will of Congress. What needs to be answered is whether there is in fact collusion, the effect of circumventing the normal regulatory process, and whether any laws are being violated. -- Confirmation Hearing for Nikki Tinsley for EPA Inspector General, July 15, 1998.

Wanting to protect the oil industry from Superfund:

  • I am concerned how the oil and gas industry are affected by Superfund. Our country now imports more oil than we produce. This is a national security issue. As a Subcommittee chairman on Armed Services and a member of the Intelligence Committee, I know first hand how important our oil supply is to our national defense and our nation's economy. I want to make sure we are not creating problems in this Committee that will need to be solved in my other Committees.

    Every time the federal government imposes more regulations on the oil industry, we start importing more oil and producing less. Superfund already hits the oil industry the hardest through the taxes. They pay over 50% of the Superfund taxes. This Bill does not address their recycling or waste issues, even though their wastes have low toxicity. I hope to join my colleagues in addressing these concerns. -- Hearing on Superfund, Thursday September 4, 1997.

In praise of nuclear power:

  • For the first time in years people are beginning to look at nuclear energy again as a viable option for our energy needs in the future. It is a safe, clean, cost efficient, and reliable fuel source when managed properly. -- Hearing on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission March 9, 2000.

As always, please don't hesitate to call (202) 785-9625 if you'd like to discuss these or related issues.