After Politico hysterically named Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson its "Energy Policy Maker of the Year" Tuesday evening, NewsBusters sought the opinion of James Inhofe (R-Ok.), the ranking member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
As readers would expect, this led to a lengthy discussion about the global warming myth, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, ClimateGate, and a host of related subjects guaranteed to inform and entertain skeptics across the fruited plain (audio follows with transcript):
NEWSBUSTERS: I’m joined today by Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, the ranking member on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee. Thank you for joining us today, Senator.
SENATOR JAMES INHOFE (R-OKLAHOMA): Well, it’s always good to be with you, Noel.
NEWSBUSTERS: Great. Well, I’m sure you saw EPA chief Lisa Jackson was named Energy Policy Maker of the Year by Politico last night. And I quote, “The EPA chief has been a forceful advocate on environmental issues and has held the line against intense Republican attacks on her agency.” Is this kind of like Time picking Hitler or Khomeini as Man of the Year – whoever had the most impact whether for good or ill?
INHOFE: Well, you have to keep in mind she was also referred to as “President Jackson” in a recent article. I think that was in the Wall Street Journal in talking about how she’s calling the shots.
Let me say something in her defense. When Carol Browner was in there, we remember her well, Lisa wasn’t nearly as bad as Carol Browner was. At least when Lisa does things she smiles and she’s a pleasant person to be around. And she has a picture of my 20 kids and grandkids in her office. Of course that helps, too.
The fact that she has done this, we need to have all of our participants here understand that it may be that she’s director of the Environmental Protection Agency, but it is not her. It’s Obama that’s doing all this. Obviously, she works directly for him, and they are faced with a real crisis right now, certainly in a lot of these regulations. People realize what the regulations cost.
Now, Noel, I want to make sure everyone understands that I’m the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee in the Senate. When Republicans were a majority, and of course we’ll be a majority again after the 2012 elections, I was the chairman of that committee. And so I’m supersensitive.
Everybody knows that the fiscal problems that we have – the spending, the taxing, the deficits, the debt – that all is directly from Obama. But what people don’t realize is that the cost of all these regulations are every bit as expensive to everyone who’s listening to us now as the taxes and all these regulations have huge price tags.
To give you an example, he’s right now trying to regulate a thing called “Boiler MACT.” I don’t want to get too far in the weeds here, but MACT means “Maximum Achievable Control Technology.” So when they are regulating the emissions, they’re doing it beyond our technology to do it. So what they’re trying to do is just kill all manufacturing and this type of thing.
The crown jewel of overregulation is Cap-and-Trade. And you know it, we talked about this in the past, I was all alone for the first five or six years. No one would touch it. But we have actually won that battle and stopped them from passing any kind of Cap-and-Trade.
The reason I mention it in conjunction with other things that are destroying America is that if you take all the regulations that they are promoting to put people out of business, and add them together, they don’t add up to as much as that one regulation, and that would be to try to do through regulations what they were unable to do through legislation, and that is a Cap-and-Trade. The cost of that is in the range of 3 to $400 billion a year.
Now, just bear with me a minute. I want to put that into perspective. I can remember in 1993 when the Clinton-Gore tax increases came out, and I remember going to the floor and talking about how this is unsustainable, how bad it was. They raised the taxes on marginal rates, on death tax, on capital gains tax, everything. And you add it up, the total cost of that would have been $30 billion a year.
Passing Cap-and-Trade as Lisa Jackson and the President are trying to do now through regulations would cost ten times more in taxes to the American people than the Clinton-Gore tax increases of 1993. I try to put it in perspective because people’s eyes glaze over when they hear about the cost of these regulations.
I do something, Noel, that I don’t know anyone else who does it. Each year I get from my state of Oklahoma the number of families who file a federal income tax return. Then I do my math every time something comes out in terms of a tax increase. Cap-and-Trade, the 3 to $400 billion tax increase, would cost each family in my state of Oklahoma a little over $3000 a year. And they don’t get anything for it.
For those people who are listening to us who think that I’ve been wrong all this time, I’d just like to remind them of one thing: Lisa Jackson was honest enough to answer a question I asked her several months ago, and that is, “If we were to do Cap-and-Trade, either through regulation or legislation, would that reduce the emissions from CO2 worldwide?” She said, “No, it wouldn’t, because that would only affect America.” As a matter of fact, it could have the effect of increasing emissions because our manufacturing base would have to go to places like China, India, and Mexico where they have very little emissions controls.
So, that’s the big issue right now, and I think it’s kind of humorous because we’re talking and having this interview at a time that’s on the eve of the big annual blowout that the United Nations does with our tax dollars, I might add. Once a year they have the big party to try to get people to come back and join into some type of a Kyoto type of a treaty. And obviously they are not going to do it. That is dead in the water. And so they’re going to have kind of a lonely celebration in Durban, South Africa.
NEWSBUSTERS: Especially when you had Canada come out earlier in the week and say, to a certain extent for reasons that you just imparted, that they’re not going to participate in a second agreement of Kyoto specifically because they don’t want to participate in something that China, Brazil, and India are not required to.
INHOFE: That’s correct. Let’s keep in mind they actually went one step further than that. They withdrew their name from the existing Kyoto that they were a part of. So that’s very, very strong. And I could see why they would do it. There’s other reasons, too. It’s not that they just don’t want to be a part of that treaty that only affects developed nations and not developing nations. But they also realize that they’ve been lied to about the science.
You know, this whole ClimateGate thing that just happened to be right before the Copenhagen United Nations meeting, and I remember going over there being the one man truth squad. And it was really the most enjoyable three hours I’ve ever spent in any foreign country to show the other 191 countries that they’d been lied to by Hillary Clinton, by President Obama, by Nancy Pelosi, and by John Kerry, because we were not going to pass Cap-and-Trade in this country. And they said we were. Now everybody knows we’re not.
NEWSBUSTERS: Well, and the other thing that’s interesting here with Canada pulling out, and the entire treaty falling apart, doesn’t that very much validate the 1997 vote in the Senate that went 97-0 with Democrats voting with the Republicans against our participation in this treaty.
INHOFE: Well, let me elaborate a little bit on that, Noel, because that isn’t quite the whole story. That was when Clinton and Gore had been in office, and they were trying to figure out how they could get this treaty ratified by the United States Senate. Well, we made such a big issue out of it that we passed a resolution that said that we would not ratify anything that does one of two things: one, be economically devastating to our country, and; number two, not impose the same restrictions on developing countries as developed countries.
Since he knew that they didn’t have the votes to do it, he released the Democrats and allowed them to vote for it when many of the Democrats wouldn’t do it otherwise. So, while it was overwhelming, it was unanimous, the main reason was the President knew, even Gore knew, even back there in the mid-90s that we were not going to ratify that treaty.
NEWSBUSTERS: Interesting. Now back to Jackson for a second, wouldn’t you agree at this point that she is part of a White House movement to create environmental policy, especially as it pertains to global warming and carbon dioxide emissions, without Congressional oversight?
INHOFE: Of course. Of course, and again, she’s carrying out the orders from her boss, President Obama. His administration is embarrassed that before the 2010 elections, they had the White House, the House and the Senate, and with big margins, and they were unable to pass the crown jewel over all regulation which is Cap-and-Trade.
So they were unable to do it during that time. So now what they’re trying to do is get all these regulations to do exactly the same thing as legislative Cap-and-Trade would have done that would have cost between 3 and $400 billion a year, but do it with regulations. And that’s my whole point. That is, of all of the regulations and the cost of the regulations, the biggest one is the whole idea of global warming and Cap-and-Trade.
You might remember, it was 2003 when I made the statement that the idea that manmade gases, CO2, are causing catastrophic global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people. I was hated at that time, but now people realize I was right. That, by the way, is the title of my book that’s going to come out in January.
NEWSBUSTERS: Yeah, why don’t you tell us about your book?
INHOFE: I can’t say too much about it. I finished it some time ago. Our problem is this, Noel, and you’ll appreciate this because you’re kind of in this business, too.
INHOFE: Every time you prepare something, you send it out and something new happens. For example, when Newt Gingrich sat on the couch with Nancy Pelosi holding hands and embracing global warming, he now says – and I told him at the time he would rue the day that he did that – he now says, “It’s the dumbest thing I ever did.” Well, these things are coming back to haunt these people. Well, this book would not have been complete without that quote from him in it.
Then of course, just recently, just two weeks ago, we had more information on how they cooked the science at the United Nations. Many of your listeners and observers right now probably won’t recognize some of these acronyms like the IPCC, but that is the United Nations. They’re the ones who are behind this whole Cap-and-Trade, this whole global warming thing, and in my book I have a whole chapter on the United Nations and what they’re motivation is and was on this.
So they were the first ones to start this whole thing, and it is fascinating the amount of research we’ve had to go through to show and demonstrate very clearly what the role of the United Nations is, and still today the IPCC, those are the scientists that supposedly have the science to make all these global warming pieces of legislation a reality. In that respect, I told Barbara Boxer sitting in our committee hearing right after the 2010 elections, “Let’s face it, Barbara – Cap-and-Trade is dead legislatively. I’ve won, you’ve lost. Get a life!”
NEWSBUSTERS: Well, and I remember seeing that. You know, one of the things of course that we write about is the media’s coverage of the anthropogenic global warming myth and what not. Do you think, getting back to Jackson for a second and Politico, do you think that it’s appropriate for a national media outlet to be praising an agency chief who by herself is trying to set policy without oversight by the legislature?
INHOFE: Absolutely not. It’s perfectly appropriate to criticize them for doing that, but we know that they’re doing it because the problem that they have, and it goes back to Lisa Jackson but it’s also Obama and his effort for reelection. He’s got to keep the far-left intact, and he’s got to throw them something. So what they’re trying to throw them is kind of a commitment that we’re going to do all this stuff through regulations and we’re not going to allow any, there’s not going to be any oversight. They specifically said there will be no oversight.
You know, I think back sometimes, and I hate to always dig this up because I criticize Republicans when I say this. You and I talked about this a long time ago. Way back in October of 2008, to me one of the dumbest things Republicans did was to support the Democrats and come out with this $700 billion bailout. People have forgotten about that now. There were only a handful of us who opposed it.
Well, time makes people forget events that are like that. And I think what they’re attempting to do right now is thinking that by the time the 2012 elections come about, in a year from now, the people will forget the fact that they tried to do it through legislation and the fact that something like this logically should have to have oversight. My gosh, what they’re trying to do is pass the greatest regulation increases at the greatest cost in the history of this country with no Congressional oversight at all. But they can’t have Congressional oversight because what they’re doing is wrong.
Let me get you back in the weeds just a little bit. To be able to regulate through the Environmental Protection Agency the emissions of CO2 or anthropogenic gases, they have to say CO2 is a danger to public health. It’s called an endangerment finding.
Right before Copenhagen, that would be a year ago last December, we had a hearing, and Lisa Jackson was before our committee. I said to her on the record, live on TV, “I have a feeling that once I leave for Copenhagen tomorrow, you’re going to come out with an endangerment finding.” And she kind of smiled, and I could tell that was going to happen. Then I said, “I have to ask you the question: what science will you use to base your endangerment finding on?” And she said, “The IPCC.” Well, that’s the same thing that right after that was totally debunked, totally refuted by the scientific community because of the scandal called ClimateGate.
So, that keeps getting worse and worse, and again, in my book I covered the history of that, which is fascinating. What they have tried to do to America with one issue actually overshadows all of the other regulations and the tax increases and the deficits and the debt almost all of them combined.
NEWSBUSTERS: I’m sure you saw the new ClimateGate emails. Anything new in that, or was that mostly old news as far as you are concerned?
INHOFE: Well, that was stuff that was merely the validation of what was said a little over a year ago, that they found out it is true. In fact, I have all of the verbatim stuff in my book that’ll be of great interest. When you really study this, you wonder how in the world did they think they could pull this thing off. And they came so close to doing it, Noel.
INHOFE: I think back now in 2003, this is after we had rejected Kyoto, and they started introducing bills to pass it through legislation. The first one was the McCain-Liebermann bill of 2003. We had that on the floor, and I can remember I couldn’t get hardly any senators to come down and join me in defeating that because the environmentalists – I’m talking about MoveOn.org, George Soros, Michael Moore, all of those people. You know, they put millions of dollars into campaigns. And so, there was this huge effort, and they thought the McCain-Liebermann bill would pass. We defeated it. But I didn’t have much help in doing that.
Two years later, ’05, McCain-Liebermann came back again, and they tried to do it, and we were able each time to defeat these bills by a larger margin till finally we had the Warner-Liebermann bill, and Waxman-Markey I guess was the last one, and that was just overwhelmingly defeated.
I don’t believe in the United States Senate, keeping in mind they would have to have 60 votes to pass any kind of legislation on Cap-and-Trade or greenhouse gases, that they’d be able to come up with more – at the very most – than 25 votes.
NEWSBUSTERS: But do you have enough votes to prevent Jackson-Obama through the EPA doing what they want?
INHOFE: Well, we don’t now, they do in the House. If you remember, we had the Upton-Inhofe bill. It was actually I started it here in the Senate. But we don’t have the majority. The Democrats have a majority. And I was unable to get it done here. However, Fred Upton from Michigan was able to get it passed. He’s the chairman of the comparable committee over in the House. And what that was was just to take away the jurisdiction from the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases. Pretty simple. And that’s the solution. And, yes, after the 2012 elections we will have the majority to get it done. Unless Obama wins, we’ll have a majority but not a veto-proof majority. So, that’s why it’s imperative for my 20 kids and grandkids that we defeat Obama as well as get our majority.
NEWSBUSTERS: Do you think anything’s going to come out of Durban? I mean, what’s interesting is, my understanding is that no members of Congress are going there.
INHOFE: How can they go? I mean, John Kerry or Barbara Boxer or Nancy Pelosi or even the President, any of them go there after they made these bold statements in Copenhagen two years ago, and I went over and told them the truth, then to find out they were lying to them. Simple as that. So I don’t think they want to go over, and I think that what they’ll do is arrange to have votes take place here and use that as an excuse not to go. No one else is going either.
Let’s keep in mind what this big thing is the United Nations does. I have countries, I know people, I’ve had a mission in Africa for many years. I think I know Africa more than any other member of the Senate. And I saw way back in Milan, that would have been 2003, that someone from a West African country – in fact it was Benin, I’ll tell you who it was. And the individual who was there representing that country I said, “What are you doing here? You don’t buy into this.” And he said, “No, this is the biggest party in town – of the year.”
Now, the biggest tragedy that they had down in Cancun was when they ran out of caviar. And it’s our money that’s paying for all of this. So we’re still going to have several countries down there trying to say that they’re going to try to get this done and all of that, but it’s dead in the water.
When I say dead in the water, it isn’t in the United States. My fear is I think any meaningful treaty is dead in the water, and I think any legislation in America is dead in the water, but what isn’t dead in the water is the fact that they’re going to continue to try to do this. Even if Obama is defeated, the far-left environmental extremists are not going to give up on this, and that’s one of the reasons I wrote the book and it’s coming out when it is to make sure everybody knows this is still out there. They’re not going to go away. They’re not going to give up.
NEWSBUSTERS: Well, speaking of far-left environmental extremists, my understanding is that no members of our media are going there either.
INHOFE: Well, you know, there’s not much to cover for them. I’ve heard that it’s kind of a media boycott there because everyone realizes it’s not going to happen. Now Durban’s a nice place to go this time of year, and there’ll be a few of them show up. It was kind of like the way it was in Cancun. I think this thing died on the vine in terms of a treaty right after ClimateGate came out after Copenhagen.
INHOFE: But the next year was Cancun down in Mexico, and of course we saw all the people drinking Margaritas and yelling and screaming and all of that, but that was the official throw in the towel meeting. So this one, anyone who’s going there can’t go back to his country and say whether it’s going to be a meaningful change and we accomplished something in Durban. It’s not going to happen.
NEWSBUSTERS: If Margaritas were the official drink in Cancun, what would you and I be drinking if we were in Durban right now?
INHOFE: Well, I don’t know what they’re serving in Durban, but I’m not going so I don’t have to worry about it.
NEWSBUSTERS: Great. Anything else you want to tell our readers before I let you go, Senator?
INHOFE: No, I don’t think so. I’m just glad, so thankful, Noel, that you and a handful of other people are keeping this alive, because as I say, this would be the most devastating economic blow in this country, and they’re trying to do it. They’re not going to give up. And even if Obama is long gone, there are going to be people trying to do this. So it’s a very important issue we’ve got to keep alive, and you’re the kind of guy that is willing to do that, and I appreciate it.
NEWSBUSTERS: Well, you know we’ve been fighting with you right from the start, and we’ll continue the fight.
INHOFE: I know that. We’re both doing the Lord’s work, Noel.
NEWSBUSTERS: Yes sir. Well, Senator, thank you for your time, and I’m going to say Merry Christmas with an underline.
INHOFE: That’s good. Merry Christmas to you.
NEWSBUSTERS: And Happy New Year, sir.
INHOFE: Thank you.