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James Inhofe on Environment

Republican Sr Senator (OK)


Endangered Species regulations stifle economic growth

As part of being a conservationist, I have always believed that personal responsibility breeds environmental stewardship. I saw this so often when I was Mayor of Tulsa: whenever individuals were involved in efforts to protect the species and the environment, the outcome is always more effective and efficient than it would be with regulations solely from the federal government. One of the best examples of this is the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, which was authorized when I was Chairman of the Environmental and Public Works Committee. Whereas regulations under the Endangered Species Act have a low success rate in recovering species but are highly successful in stifling economic growth, the Partners Program is much more effective in preserving the species and the economy because it works with property owners instead of against them.
Source: The Greatest Hoax, by James Inhofe, p. 11 , Feb 28, 2012

Balance environmental progress & economic growth

I became Chairman of the Environmental and Public Works Committee in 2003. The Committee didn't know what hit them. I could not have been more different from my predecessors. In fact, as a staunch conservative from Oklahoma, an energy-developing state, I was a radical departure from my colleagues who had held my position, who were, for the most part, less conservative and from eastern states with much different constituencies. More often than not, they believed that the more regulations from Washington, the better for our environment and nation. I never saw it that way; I have always believed that we need to achieve a healthy balance between environmental progress and economic growth. In fact, I was the first Chairman to invite witnesses from industry and energy development sectors to testify on how excessive environmental regulations may affect their ability to create jobs or expand their business.
Source: The Greatest Hoax, by James Inhofe, p. 15 , Feb 28, 2012

Sustainable development is alarmingly like global socialism

What do the elites and super-liberals at the UN believe?

Briefly, their guiding philosophy is known as "sustainable development," and it is alarmingly similar to the utopian ideals of global socialism. Unfortunately for us Americans, this philosophy would require those of us in Western nations to surrender our lifestyles and our resources so that they could be redistributed to developing nations. And who would be doing this redistribution? You got it--the UN.

Perhaps what is most alarming is that this is all being done in an effort to save the "environment," which is why I believe the leaders at the UN have been pushing the global warming issue so hard. In fact, the Kyoto Protocol embodies many of the actual goals and priorities of the UN super elites. That is why it's a crucial component of their effort to make the UN more powerful and important.

Source: The Greatest Hoax, by James Inhofe, p. 25-26 , Feb 28, 2012

SO2 trading mechanisms have achieved significant benefit

After the Senate rejected cap and trade for greenhouse gases the 1st time, I insisted that it was time to pass legislation that would actually provide real public health and environmental benefits to the American people while preserving our economy and standard of living. Yes, Clear Skies was a cap and trade bill, but with one crucial difference from the McCain-Lieberman bill: it focused solely on reducing 3 real air pollutants: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury (for the first time in history); it did not regulate greenhouses gases.

Global warming advocates often accused Republicans of hypocrisy for supporting cap and trade for real pollutants but not greenhouse gases. But they confused the fact that trading mechanisms for real pollutants have achieved significant environmental benefits without harming jobs and the economy, claiming the same would happen for carbon despite every credible economic analysis showing exactly the opposite.

Source: The Greatest Hoax, by James Inhofe, p. 50-51 , Feb 28, 2012

Media has pushed environmental catastrophes for 100 years

Let's be honest: catastrophe sells news. Take, for example, a quote from the N.Y.Times reporting fears of an approaching ice age: "Geologists Think the World May be Frozen Up Again." That sentence appeared more than 100 years ago in the Feb. 24, 1885 edition. Oct.7, 1912, the L.A. Times warned that the "Human race will have to fight for its existence against cold." An Aug. 10, 1923 Washington Post article declared: "Ice Age Coming Here."

By the 1930s, the media took a break from reporting on the coming ice age and instead switched gears to promoting global warming: "America in Longest Warm Spell Since 1776," stated the N.Y. Times on March 27, 1933. A Dec. 29, 1974 N.Y. Times article on global cooling reported "experts assign near certainty to major crop failure in a decade."

After I presented the media's 100-year-history of embarrassing climate change reporting in a speech on the Senate floor in 2006, Newsweek issued a 1000-word correction for its 1975 story on the dangers of global cooling

Source: The Greatest Hoax, by James Inhofe, p. 57-59 , Feb 28, 2012

Air pollution is at all-time low; don’t tighten standards

Today’s announcement by EPA will have a severe economic impact on Oklahoma and the nation for too little environmental gain. Despite the fact that air pollution levels across the United States are at an all time low and our nation’s air quality continues to improve, the EPA decided to further tighten the standard. The consequence of the Rule means that hundreds of counties across the country will once again face potential stiff federal penalties.
Source: Press release, “EPA’s revised ozone standard” , Mar 12, 2008

Voted NO on protecting ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems.

Whitehouse Amdt. No. 803 to S.Amdt. 799 to S. 601 (Water Resources Development Act of 2013): To create the National Endowment for the Oceans to promote the protection and conservation of United States ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Mr. WHITEHOUSE: This measure was part of the RESTORE Act, [but] this piece of it fell out of the bargain. If you supported the RESTORE Act, you have already supported this bill. If you believe that deals should be deals in the Senate, then you should support this bill. It is very important that we as a body support this bill. It does not create a single extra bureaucracy or person. It works within the existing government, and it adds no funding.

MississippiRiverDelta.org Summary of RESTORE Act: The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act) dedicates 80% of all Clean Water Act penalties paid by those responsible for the 2010 gulf oil disaster to Gulf Coast restoration.

Proponent's press release supporting Yes vote: The National Endowment for the Oceans, Coasts, and Great Lakes Act would provide steady funding that universities, non-profit organizations, and government agencies can count on every year to support research and restoration projects. It would be funded primarily by dedicating 12.5% of revenues from offshore energy development, including oil, gas, and renewable energy. Revenue is generated through offshore lease sales and production based royalty payments. Funds from the Endowment would be distributed through a competitive grant program to fund projects to restore habitat, manage fisheries, plan for sustainable coastal development, enhance ocean monitoring and research activities, acquire coastal properties for preservation, and relocate critical coastal infrastructure.

Inhofe says, "Inhofe (R-OK)"

Reference: National Endowment for the Oceans; Bill S.Amdt. 803 ; vote number 13-SV116 on May 8, 2013

Voted NO on $2 billion more for Cash for Clunkers program.

Congressional Summary:Emergency supplemental appropriations of $2 billion for the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) Program.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. OBEY (D, WI-7): The cash for clunkers program has proven even more wildly popular than its strongest supporters had predicted. Just last month, Congress passed the program, which provided up to $4,500 if you trade in your old gas guzzler for a new car that gets better mileage. That was done in the hopes of spurring some new car sales and encouraging people to be a little more environmentally friendly. We provided $1 billion in the supplemental to get it going, enough for about 250,000 sales--which was just about exhausted in one week. This bill transfers $2 billion from the Department of Energy's Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee program, which doesn't expect to award funding until late next year.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. LEWIS (R, CA-41): In the majority's haste to slam legislation with no time for consideration or amendments, we are now seeing the effects of such shortsighted martial law tactics.

Senator Feinstein tried to negotiate some changes to improve the program but was told that it was this way or the highway. Not one hearing on the Cash for Clunkers program, not one hearing on how the first billion dollars has been spent, not one hearing on how much money the program will need to get through the fiscal year.

Many of my colleagues will say, This is a great program, and it is necessary for the revitalization of the car industry. I'm not really going to argue with those goals. However, are we sure this program is working like it's supposed to? I don't think so. This program has only been up and running 1 week. If that is how the government is going to handle billion-dollar programs affecting all Americans, I ask, Whatever will we do if the administration takes control of our health care system?

Reference: Cash for Clunkers bill; Bill H.R. 3435 ; vote number 2009-S270 on Aug 6, 2009

Voted YES on prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land.

To prohibit the involuntary acquisition of farmland & grazing land by government for parks, open space, or similar purposes. Exceptions include takings for use by:

Proponents support voting YES because:

Sen. CRAIG: "Eminent domain was elevated greatly as an issue following a highly controversial 2005 Supreme Court decision known as Kelo vs. The City of New London. Since that decision, we as a nation have allowed state & local governments to utilize eminent domain to force landowners to yield their property to private development. Farmers and ranchers in particular have become vulnerable to state and local governments taking their property for economic development or open space designations. My amendment is a very targeted amendment. It addresses only cases in which private working agricultural land is taken and turned into public open space."

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Sen. HARKIN: This amendment doesn't reach the Kelo decision [because Kelo was about taking open space for private development]. Under this amendment they can still do that.

CRAIG. Oh, I disagree totally. We reach a portion of Kelo that is now most frequently impacting farms and ranches, and that is open space for open space.

HARKIN. The amendment has the Federal Government telling a local government what it can and cannot do within its own jurisdiction.

Letter from the National Conference of State Legislatures & US Conference of Mayors:

"This amendment is not only ill-advised, but it is also unconstitutional [because it] preempts state & local land use laws. The 5th Amendment expressly permits the taking of private property for public use provided just compensation is provided to the owner. The power of eminent domain has always been, and should remain, a state and local power."

Reference: Craig Amendment to Farm Bill Extension Act; Bill S.Amdt. 3640 to H.R. 2419 ; vote number 2007-429 on Dec 13, 2007

Voted NO on including oil & gas smokestacks in mercury regulations.

A joint resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on March 15, 2005, relating to the removal of coal- and oil-fired electric generating units from the list of major sources of hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. The EPA's Clean Air Mercury Rule:
Reference: EPA's Clean Air Mercury Rule; Bill S J Res 20 ; vote number 2005-225 on Sep 13, 2005

Voted YES on confirming Gale Norton as Secretary of Interior.

Vote to confirm the nomination of Gale Norton as Secretary of Interior. [Ms. Norton generally favors conservative or libertarian stances on the environment.]
Reference: Bill Confirmation vote ; vote number 2001-6 on Jan 30, 2001

Voted YES on more funding for forest roads and fish habitat.

The Bryan Amdt (D-NV) offered an amendment to raise funding levels for Forest Service road maintenance and wildlife and fisheries habitat management programs. Senator Craig (R-ID) motioned to table this amendment. [A YES vote is considered pro-business].
Status: Table Motion Agreed to Y)54; N)43; NV)3
Reference: Motion to table Bryan Amdt. #1588; Bill H.R. 2466 ; vote number 1999-272 on Sep 14, 1999

Voted YES on transportation demo projects.

McCain amendment to the transportation reauthorization bill (S. 1173) would require that funding for demonstration projects be covered by their respective state allocations instead of being funded individually in the transportation bill.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)78; N)22
Reference: McCain Amdt #1726; Bill S. 1173 ; vote number 1998-29 on Mar 12, 1998

Voted NO on reducing funds for road-building in National Forests.

Vote on an amendment to cut the $47.4 million provided for Forest Service road construction by $10 million, and to eliminate the purchaser credit program [which provides credits to timber companies to offset what they owe the government].
Reference: Bill HR.2107 ; vote number 1997-242 on Sep 17, 1997

Rated 5% by the LCV, indicating anti-environment votes.

Inhofe scores 5% by the LCV on environmental issues

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is the political voice of the national environmental movement and the only organization devoted full-time to shaping a pro-environment Congress and White House. We run tough and effective campaigns to defeat anti-environment candidates, and support those leaders who stand up for a clean, healthy future for America. Through our National Environmental Scorecard and Presidential Report Card we hold Congress and the Administration accountable for their actions on the environment. Through regional offices, we build coalitions, promote grassroots power, and train the next generation of environmental leaders. The 2003 National Environmental Scorecard provides objective, factual information about the environmental voting records of all Members of the first session of the 108th Congress. This Scorecard represents the consensus of experts from 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations who selected the key votes on which Members of Congress should be graded. LCV scores votes on the most important issues of the year, including environmental health and safety protections, resource conservation, and spending for environmental programs. Scores are calculated by dividing the number of pro-environment votes by the total number of votes scored. The votes included in this Scorecard presented Members of Congress with a real choice on protecting the environment and help distinguish which legislators are working for environmental protection. Except in rare circumstances, the Scorecard excludes consensus action on the environment and issues on which no recorded votes occurred.

Source: LCV website 03n-LCV on Dec 31, 2003

Allow critical feeding on Conservation Reserves.

Inhofe co-sponsored allowing critical feeding on Conservation Reserves

A BILL to require the Secretary of Agriculture to carry out conservation reserve program notice CRP-598, entitled the 'Voluntary Modification of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Contract for Critical Feed Use'.

BACKGROUND: USDA announced that certain acreage enrolled in CRP would be available for hay and forage after the ending of the primary nesting season. Beginning June 2, 2008, CRP participants may request to voluntarily modify CRP contracts for critical feed use, such as haying and grazing. The increased demand for commodities and resulting higher prices has impacted the livestock industry.

    Implement conservation reserve program notice CRP-598:
  1. to modify conservation reserve program contracts of producers and operators; and
  2. to allow harvesting or grazing on agricultural lands enrolled in the conservation reserve.
Source: Voluntary Modification of CRP (S3337/HR6533) 08-S3337 on Jul 25, 2008

Rated 0% by HSLF, indicating an anti-animal welfare voting record.

Inhofe scores 0% by the Humane Society on animal rights issues

112th Mid-Term Humane Scorecard: The Humane Society Legislative Fund has posted the final version of the 2011 Humane Scorecard, where you can track the performance of your federal lawmakers on key animal protection issues during last year. We rated legislators based on their voting behavior on measures such as agribusiness subsidies, lethal predator control, and the Endangered Species Act; their cosponsorship of priority bills on puppy mills, horse slaughter, animal fighting, and chimps in research; their support for funding the enforcement of animal welfare laws; and their leadership on animal protection. All of the priority bills whose cosponsorships we're counting enjoy strong bipartisan support; in the House, each of the four now has more than 150 cosponsors.

The Humane Scorecard is not a perfect measuring tool, but creating some reasonable yardstick and allowing citizens to hold lawmakers accountable is central to our work. When the Humane Scorecard comes out each year, it helps clarify how the animal protection movement is doing geographically, by party affiliation, and in other categories. It helps us chart our course for animals by seeing where we have been effective, and where we need to improve.

Source: HSLF website 12-HumaneS on Jan 13, 2012

Sponsored matching grants for wetlands conservation projects.

Inhofe co-sponsored North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act (NAWCA)

Congressional Summary: Extends through 2017 the allocations to carry out approved wetlands conservation projects.

Proponent's argument for bill:(US Fish and Wildlife Service statement on NAWCA): The North American Wetlands Conservation Act of 1989 provides matching grants to carry out wetlands conservation projects in the US, Canada, and Mexico for the benefit of wetlands-associated migratory birds and other wildlife. The Standard Grants Program supports projects that involve long-term protection, restoration, and/or enhancement of wetlands and associated uplands habitats. The Small Grants Program supports the same type of projects but project activities are usually smaller in scope, [under] $75,000.

Opponent's argument against bill: (Heritage Foundation 2008 statement on wetlands enforcement): The 2006 Supreme Court ruling in Rapanos v. US restricts the EPA from setting a strict and expansive definition on what classifies as a wetland and what can and can't be regulated. The EPA defines wetlands as "including swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas", but it is more complicated than that. For instance, in the Rapanos case, Rapanos' land was 20 miles away from navigable water, but under the EPA's unrestrained definition, the term "navigable water" was also broadly defined. Having such an expansive definition would allow the EPA to run wild with environmental regulation. A less expansive definition may beget more uncertainty as to how the EPA should regulate wetlands, but it will also lead to more careful deliberation rather than unwarranted regulations.

Source: S.741 / H.R.2208 13-S741 on Apr 16, 2013

Sponsored no permits for legal pesticide runoff into lakes & streams.

Inhofe co-sponsored Sensible Environmental Protection Act

Congressional Summary:Amends the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) to prohibit the EPA or a state from requiring a permit for a discharge into navigable waters of a pesticide authorized under FIFRA. Excepts stormwater discharges and discharges of manufacturing or industrial effluent.

Proponent's argument for bill:(Blue Ridge Times-News, April 2013): Sen. Kay Hagan announced a bill to eliminate a "redundant and burdensome" requirement that 365,000 pesticide users get a CWA permit before spraying in or near lakes and streams. Farmers and other chemical users already have to meet stringent requirements for pesticide application under FIFRA, Hagan said, and the CWA permit only adds a duplicative, unnecessary layer of bureaucracy. Hagan said the "overlapping regulations" have also forced some municipalities to cut down on spraying for mosquitoes "because they don't have the manpower (to deal with the extra red tape), and they fear lawsuits."

Opponent's argument against bill: (Oregon Sierra Club newsletter Dec. 2012): Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" turned 50 this fall: it catalyzed the environmental movement [by focusing on pesticides like DDT]. Today we still face the issues she outlined in Silent Spring. Pesticide law and regulation in the US is a case study in corporate capture: beholden to the farm lobby in Congress, all the way back to the 1947 formation of FIFRA.

FACT: From 1988 to 1995, more than 65 bills were introduced in Congress to tighten pesticide regulations. None of them passed.

FACT: In the late 1990s, two separate investigations revealed that more than half of all former top-level pesticide regulators at the EPA subsequently went to work for, or were paid by, pesticide and chemical industry interests actively involved in fighting EPA efforts to protect the public from pesticides.

Source: S.802 / H.R.935 13-S802 on Apr 24, 2013

Regulating 15 more contaminants under Clean Water Act.

Inhofe co-sponsored regulating 15 more contaminants under Clean Water Act

Amends the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to publish a proposed list of at least 15 contaminants that may occur in public water systems and that are not currently subject to EPA regulation. Provides for proposed lists of at least 12 additional contaminants every four years. (Current law requires EPA to regulate 25 contaminants every three years.) Bases the determination to regulate a contaminant on findings that:

  1. the contaminant is known to occur in public water systems;
  2. the contaminant occurs in concentrations which may have adverse health effects; and
  3. regulation of the contaminant presents an opportunity to reduce health risks.
Source: Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments (H.R.3392) 93-H3392 on Oct 27, 1993

Other candidates on Environment: James Inhofe on other issues:
OK Gubernatorial:
Brad Henry
Joe Dorman
Mary Fallin
OK Senatorial:
Connie Johnson
James Lankford
Matt Silverstein
T.W. Shannon
Tom Coburn

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Retired as of Jan. 2013:
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Senate races Nov. 2014:
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AL: Sessions(R,unopposed)
AR: Pryor(D) vs.Cotton(R)
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Page last updated: Aug 06, 2014