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Public Statements

Cap-And-Trade

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, today I wish to speak on where I think this climate change debate is headed after last Thursday's vote on the Murkowski resolution. We got a very clear signal in today's Politico, which reported that President Obama, in his Oval Office address tomorrow night, will seek, as a part of the response to the BP oilspill, to ``put a price on carbon.''

Let's keep in mind what ``a price on carbon'' is. That is a tax, a carbon tax, or what we call cap and trade. Quite often people have said: Well, if those individuals really want to charge for carbon, want to stop this economy, why don't they just put a carbon tax on it? The reason they do not is then people would know how much it is costing them. As it is now, with cap and trade, they would not.

But again, he is going to have an Oval Office address. I think this will be
the first talk he will give from the Oval Office since he has been President. Of course, that is Washington-speak for cap and trade--a price on carbon.

This is remarkable. Here we have the most significant environmental disaster in our Nation's history, and the President decides now is the time for cap and trade--a massive new energy tax paid for by consumers, working families, farmers, and small businesses; a massive new energy tax that will destroy millions of jobs, in good measure by sending many of them to places such as China and India; a massive new energy tax that will make a gallon of gas more expensive; and a massive new energy tax that will not do anything to stop global warming but will increase the size of government and give more money to politicians to spend. Just how that will contain the oilspill, mitigate the environmental damage, or help those immediately affected by it remains a mystery. Put simply, it will not do any of those things, but it will damage the economy and make it harder to deal with this crisis.

We have a serious incident on our hands. People died, people's economic livelihoods are at stake, and the environment is being harmed. But instead of Presidential leadership and clear direction, we are getting pure partisan politics. One glaring example is President Obama's moratorium on deepwater drilling--something environmental groups have been seeking for many years. This is an exercise in overreaching that will do far more harm than good. The Louisiana Department of Economic Development estimates that the President's moratorium would kill 3,000 to 6,000 jobs in the next few weeks and over 10,000 Louisiana jobs in the next few months. More than 20,000 jobs are at risk in the next 12 months. That is one example of just pure politics.

Today, in a letter to supporters--we just got this, Mr. President; you may not be aware of this--this is a letter that went out today to Obama supporters all across the Nation, and it says: We are going to have a big meeting at the White House, and we are going to talk about moving forward on legislation to promote a new economy powered by green jobs, combating climate change, and ending our dependence on foreign oil.

Down further in the letter, he says that the House of Representatives has already passed comprehensive energy legislation. Let's remember what that was. That was the Waxman-Markey bill. That was a cap-and-trade bill--one that was very expensive. He says there is currently a plan in the Senate to do the same thing. That is the Kerry-Lieberman bill he is talking about and we are going to talk about.

So the whole idea of this meeting--and I understand the speech that is going to take place tomorrow night is to try to promote an agenda, a very liberal agenda, an agenda that has been rejected. Cap and trade has been rejected by this legislative body since the Kyoto Treaty. That was way back in the late 1990s. Then, of course, the 2003 and 2005 bills by McCain and Lieberman that have been cap-and-trade bills were rejected and every one of them since then, including the Warner-Lieberman bill and the other bills we have had. The interesting thing is, every time a cap-and-trade bill comes up here, it is defeated by a larger margin. That is why I have been saying cap and trade is something that is dead in the Senate.

Instead of Presidential leadership, we are getting rhetoric of the worst kind. A case in point came last week. We heard that the Murkowski resolution is a ``big oil bailout'' that will allow oil companies such as BP to pollute the air. That must be news to thousands of groups across the country because they certainly were very much in support of her resolution. I am talking about people such as the American Association of Housing Services for the Aging, Family Dairies USA, the Farm Bureau, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Brick Industry Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Associated Builders and Contractors--the list goes on and on of the people who realize they do not want to have this massive government takeover.

Let's keep in mind that when you talk about cap-and-trade legislation and then you talk about what the EPA is talking about doing under the Clean Air Act, it is essentially the same thing. It is just that since they could not get it passed legislatively, they are going to try to do it administratively. That is what the whole Murkowski resolution was about. It was about stopping that from taking place. Incidentally, it got 47 votes, and I am going to talk about those votes in a minute.

Well, do some Members really believe these groups have been duped, that what they are really supporting is nothing more than a sop to BP and big oil? This is simply insulting to the citizens across the country who supported the Murkowski resolution for one simple reason: It will stop the greatest bureaucratic intrusion into the lives of the American people in history.

I am confident we will keep hearing this refrain as we get closer to November. The story in today's Politico--and this is interesting; it just came out today--talks about a survey by a guy named Joe Benenson. He is President Obama's campaign pollster. He is an Obama guy. They are doing it for a very liberal group. Among other things, Mr. Benenson found that, based on his interpretation of the survey results, pushing for cap and trade and tying opposition to it to big oil is a ``potent political weapon'' for Democrats against Republicans this fall. Purely political. No one can argue that.

Well, it is my view that we should be capping that well and not the economy, but apparently the President sees it differently. I suppose some of this was driven by last week's 47-to-53 vote on overturning the EPA's endangerment finding. The motion to proceed to the Murkowski resolution failed, but the President should not let those numbers obscure the hard political reality: there is a bipartisan majority in the Senate that supports either a delay of or an outright ban on the Obama EPA's job-killing global warming agenda.

By preventing a debate on the Murkowski resolution, the Democrat-led Senate voted last week to expand the reach of government into our daily lives. But the reason this bureaucratic intrusion will continue is that a deal was cut just prior to the vote.

Now, listen to this. It was exposed in a front-page story in the Hill the day of the vote. I am going to read from that story, the Hill story:

Democratic leaders are scrambling to prevent the Senate from delivering a stinging slap to President Barack Obama on climate change. They have offered a vote on a bill they dislike in the hopes of avoiding a loss on legislation Obama hates. The president is threatening to veto a resolution from Sen. Lisa Murkowski that would ban the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon emissions. But if the president were forced to use his veto to prevent legislation emerging from a Congress in which his own party enjoys substantial majorities, it would be a humiliation for him and for Democrats on Capitol Hill. So Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democratic leaders are doing what they can to stop it. They are floating the possibility of voting on an alternative measure from Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from the coal state of West Virginia, which they previously refused to grant floor time. .....

This is all quoted from the article.

It appears at least seven Democrats took the deal offered to them. What is the deal? The deal is: I know you guys want to vote for the Murkowski resolution. All your people back home want you to vote for it. It is a very popular resolution to stop this overwhelming takeover. Yet, in order to keep them from getting to 51 votes, you are going to have to vote against it.

These are seven Democrats. At the same time, those same seven Democrats could use the Rockefeller amendment for cover. The Rockefeller amendment is the same as the Murkowski resolution, except it just delays it 2 years. Frankly, it accomplishes the same thing. I am for either one of them. Either one would be good.

The problem with that is the Rockefeller bill would take 60 votes. So it is saying we know they can get the 51 votes, but if you seven won't vote for Murkowski, we will let you go ahead and vote for the Rockefeller thing and they won't get it anyway because it would take 60 votes.

I know it is heavy lifting. It is complicated, but that is what is going on around here. In other words, for the Democrats to ensure that the EPA can micromanage farms and other institutions in America, they have to develop a scheme to give cover to Democratic Members who should oppose the EPA takeover. I wish to emphasize that I believe these Members are conflicted about what to do. I think they understand the economic harm and what an unfettered EPA bureaucracy could mean for their constituents--fewer jobs, more regulations, higher taxes, and a slower economy--but they were pressured by the President and the base of the Democratic Party. They were warned against defying the President on one of his top initiatives, so they turned to the Rockefeller bill as an alternative, which is a 2-year delay for implementation of this bill; in other words, not allowing the EPA to micromanage our lives at least for 2 more years, giving us a little breathing time. But it is not the end of the road.

As I see it, the Rockefeller bill should not be used as political cover. It is merely an alternative means of achieving a similar goal sought by Senator Murkowski to stop the EPA from deciding our Nation's energy policy. We ought to get a vote on Rockefeller one way or another, and if it happens, I trust these seven Members--and possibly others who voted no on Murkowski--will vote with their constituents for the Rockefeller bill and against EPA taking jobs, businesses, and energy out of our struggling economy.

Let me be blunt. EPA's growing regulatory regime will lead to one of the greatest bureaucratic intrusions into the lives of the American people. Peter Glaser, an attorney with Troutman Sanders and one of the foremost Clean Air Act attorneys--the Clean Air Act passed many decades ago--said that the EPA's endangerment finding will lead to Federal regulation of schools, hospitals, nursing homes, commercial buildings, churches, restaurants, homes, hotels, malls, colleges and universities, food processing facilities, farms, sports arenas--all of these things. That is virtually everybody--and it would be a very expensive proposition.

If you look at what happened throughout the history of this endangerment finding, the debate over the Murkowski resolution began even before the resolution was introduced in January. It began with the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC. That was at the United Nations back in 1989. That led to the Kyoto Protocol, and we voted on the intent of the Kyoto Protocol right in this Chamber 95 to nothing. The question was this: We will reject any treaty that comes from the Clinton-Gore White House to us if it either hurts our economy or doesn't treat the developing nations the same as the developed nations. Of course, that is exactly what we did. That was 95 to 0.

Then, later on, as I mentioned, we had all of these different bills, including the Lieberman-Warner bill, the McCain-Warner bill, and all of these were cap-and-trade bills and they all died. All of this led to the EPA's endangerment finding. What that said was--and this is the President: In the event that the House and the Senate refuse to vote in favor of some kind of a cap-and-trade bill, as has been mentioned, then we will go ahead and do it under the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act was set up to attack real pollutants such as SOX, NOX, and mercury. So they were saying we will go ahead and do it with this regulation.

Make no mistake. Despite testimony to the contrary by senior officials, the Obama administration was not forced by the Supreme Court to choose endangerment. As I noted, they had a choice. They made the wrong choice. They could have either voted not to consider CO2 as endangering to health or they could do it or ignore it altogether. They decided to do it, and it didn't surprise me a bit.

So the IPCC put together this thing and we now--I can remember so well when we had Lisa Jackson, who is the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, before our committee. We talked about the fact that I thought--this is before the endangerment finding. I said: Administrator Jackson, I think you are going to have an endangerment finding, and when you do, you have to base that on science. What science are you going to base it on? The answer was: The IPCC or the United Nations.

We know what has happened to the credibility of that science since that time. It has been totally debunked.

The other defense people use in trying to justify voting against the resolution as expressed by a few Democrats was that overturning endangerment would mean removing the authority from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration--that is the NHTSA--to set Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, CAFE standards. More specifically, some argue it would undo the historic auto deal reached last May by the two auto companies, the White House, and the EPA, DOT, and California. The only problem with this argument is that it is wrong. Ask the Obama administration. According to a February 19 letter by Kevin Vincent--that is the NHTSA's general counsel:

As a strictly legal matter, the Murkowski resolution does not directly impact NHTSA's statutory authority to set fuel economy standards under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, as amended by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

So we are hearing that this resolution will revoke the new CAFE standards and increase the amount of oil we consume. It is patently false to assert that NHTSA said they can't continue to work on, and then implement, as they are doing today, the CAFE standards. So that argument is a phony argument.

Cap and trade. During the debate last week, I spoke briefly about the collapse of the science behind manmade global warming. I said the vote last week was not based on the science but, rather, on stopping a liberal job-killing agenda. It is interesting because there are several people--all of the Republicans supported the Murkowski resolution. Yet there are some Republicans who actually believe that anthropogenic gas is a major cause of global warming. I am not one of those. I am at the other extreme. But there are some here who don't agree. So that wasn't what the vote was about. It was about whether they should take over control of our lives as they are talking about doing. There is no doubt that there is a wide spectrum of beliefs about the science in the Republican Party, but I am pleased that last week we stood united for protecting American jobs. That is all 41 Republicans. That is very rare. They always say Democrats are much more disciplined than Republicans are. That is where the phrase ``herding cats'' came from. That is why you try to get Republicans all together. It is a very unusual thing, but we were. We were all together last week.

The Clean Air Act is a monumental mistake that will shackle the American economy with job-killing regulations and higher energy taxes.

Let me now take a little time to discuss both the current state of cap and trade in the Senate and the latest science behind global warming. First, let me state the obvious. Despite the best efforts by many in the more extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party, global warming cap-and-trade legislation is dead. It is dead. I stated that 2 months ago, and there is no way they are going to be able to bring it back. We will have to wait and see. In fact, just the term ``cap and trade'' is so toxic these days in the Senate, my Democratic colleagues refuse to even use the term anymore. They don't use ``cap and trade.'' Last week Majority Leader Harry Reid said:

We don't use the words ``cap and trade'' ..... That's something that's been deleted from my dictionary.

Further, RollCall reported last week that Democrats in the House had a similar response to cap and trade. RollCall reported:

Both Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer bristled at a question about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's declaration that the House's cap-and-trade energy proposal is dead. The House passed a bill that includes the proposal last year, but the issue has stalled in the Senate. ``That's not the bill they have in the Senate,'' Pelosi told reporters. ``They don't have a cap-and-trade bill. That's not the bill they have in the Senate.''

That is the bill we have in the Senate. It is cap and trade. All of those are cap and trade. The current bill, the Kerry-Lieberman bill, is cap and trade. They may change the name of it, but it is still cap and trade. They cap emissions and then they start trading around and the government picks winners and losers and tries to convince everyone that he will be the winner.

It wasn't long ago that the author of the cap-and-trade bill in the Senate tried to suggest that his bill wasn't cap and trade either. He said:

I don't know what ``cap and trade'' means. I don't think the average American does. This is not a cap-and-trade bill, it's a pollution reduction bill.

It is a cap-and-trade bill.

In fact, when Senators Kerry and Lieberman finally introduced their bill, we soon learned that it was worse than cap and trade because it was cap and trade, but it also included a gas tax increase.

No matter the word games employed or the extent to which the Democrats wish to hide the truth from the American people, cap and trade will mean more job losses, more pain at the pump, and higher food and electricity prices for consumers. Despite the postmodern denial of ``the truth'' in which words can mean whatever one chooses, the next version of ``putting a price on carbon'' will be cap and trade, pure and simple. And if the House Waxman-Markey bill is any guide, it will showcase massive expansion of government mandates, spending, taxes, and energy rationing for America.

Now let me turn to cover the flaws of the science on which the EPA's endangerment is based. Lisa Jackson is President Obama's EPA Administrator. She admitted publicly that the EPA's finding of endangerment is in good measure a conclusion of the UN's IPCC. She told me in a public forum live on TV that EPA accepted those findings without any serious independent analysis to see whether they were true.

After climategate and the admission of errors by IPCC, we now know that the process was flawed all along. In a Senate report I released earlier this year on climategate, the report found that some of the world's leading climate scientists engaged in unethical behavior and possibly violated Federal laws. Many of those scientists appeared to have manipulated the data--this is what came out of the report--manipulated the data to fit preconceived conclusions. In other words, IPCC says, What do we have to show to come to the conclusion we have already come to 7, 8 years ago that anthropogenic gases are causing global warming. They obstructed Freedom of Information requests and dissemination of climate data--and by the way, they did show that was true in Great Britain, but the problem is the statute of limitations had already run and the IPCC had colluded to pressure journal editors against publishing scientific work contrary to their own.

The U.K. Government has already found that scientists from the Climate Research Unit, or CRU, who are at the center of this scandal, violated its Freedom of Information Act.

Importantly, the Senate report shows many of the scientists involved in this scandal worked for the UN's IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They helped compile the IPCC's 2O07 Fourth Assessment Report. That is important because that report is a primary basis for the EPA's endangerment finding for greenhouse gases. The media has uncovered several errors and mistakes in the report which undermine the credibility of the IPCC's science.

The things I am going to list right here were found both in Al Gore's movie as well as the IPCC report. They are all in this thing together. They said it would melt the Himalayan glaciers by 2035. That is just flat not true. They admit that is not true. They said it would destroy 40 percent of the Amazon's rain forest. That is not true. They said it would melt the ice in the Andes, the Alps, and in Africa. That is not true. They said it would drastically increase the cost of climate-related natural disasters. That is not true. It would drive 20 to 30 percent of the species to extinction. That is not true. It would slash crop production by 50 percent in Africa by 2020. All of these things have been fabricated and since proven not to be true. Yet that is the science on which the endangerment finding has been based. Oh, yes. The IPCC said the Netherlands is 50 percent below sea level. That is not true, either, as we well know. There is even more, but I think we have made our point here.

The fact is that the EPA accepted the IPCC's erroneous claims wholesale without doing its own independent review. So EPA's endangerment finding rests on bad science. The EPA minority report provides further proof that EPA needs to scrap the endangerment finding and start all over again. By the way, anyone interested in this can look at my Web site where we cover all the details and all the documentation on everything I have been saying.

The Obama administration, however, is pressing ahead. We have been told that the science still stands. We have been told that IPCC's mistakes are trivial. We have been told that climategate was just gossipy e-mails between scientists. Yet global warming alarmism has been sold on the very notion that manmade greenhouse gases are causing environmental catastrophes, such as the Himalayan glaciers melting and all that stuff. So the science is certainly not so.

Further, the challenges to the integrity and credibility of the IPCC merit closer examination by the Congress. The ramifications of the IPCC spread far and wide, most notably to the endangerment finding.

The EPA's finding rests on the IPCC's conclusions, and the EPA has accepted them wholesale, without independent assessment.

Remember how the Telegraph of London referred to all this? That is one of their largest publications, the London Telegraph. They said climategate and the IPCC's errors amount to ``the greatest scientific scandal of our time.'' That is a publication that was very favorable to the IPCC before climategate came along. Climategate--even though it happened this last December, if anybody wants to document how far back this was first discovered, I made a speech at this podium on the Senate floor 4 or 5 years ago that documented all these scientists coming in and saying how they were rejected from the process of the IPCC because they would not verify their conclusions.

At this pivotal time, as the Obama EPA is preparing to enact policies potentially costing trillions of dollars and thousands of jobs, IPCC's errors make plain that we need openness, transparency, and accountability in the scientific research financed by U.S. taxpayers.

Mr. President, let me conclude with this: As the most conservative Member of the Senate, as ranked by the National Journal, I have spent the past 2 years speaking out against the unprecedented liberal agenda coming out of Washington. I have stood up and spoken out about massive out-of-control spending in Washington, increased government intervention into our daily lives, the gutting of our national defense, and of the costly global warming agenda.

In the midst of these challenges, we also face an unprecedented environmental catastrophe in the gulf. Today, as the American people continue to face high unemployment and a struggling economy, we must remain focused on finding every opportunity to stand on the side of the American worker and create opportunities.

In the gulf, we all have to work together and stay focused on mitigating and containing the environmental impacts and providing assistance to the gulf's affected commercial and recreational industries and investigating the causes so we can prevent a disaster of this kind from happening again. Staying focused will help us make prudent decisions.

The bottom line is, for the sake of our Nation, we must be willing to put aside the costly liberal agenda of the left and not allow them to use the gulf tragedy to advance their cap-and-trade energy tax, which is completely unrelated to stopping the spill and helping the people in the gulf. There is no relationship between cap and trade and the gulf disaster. There is no relationship between what the EPA endangerment finding would allow one bureaucrat to do and the gulf tragedy. By their own admission--to say they can parlay this into their own agenda is something we cannot let happen.

Twenty years ago, a very similar thing happened with the Exxon Valdez. It was tragic, and I went up there. The environmental extremists were up there celebrating and saying: We are going to parlay this into retarding the exploration and production on the North Slope. I made the statement there--it is all in writing--how can you figure this out? How can you stop oil production domestically in Alaska by using this issue?

Well, the issue was a transportation issue. It wasn't an oilspill or a production accident. It was a transportation accident.

I said: If you stop our production, we are going to be more dependent upon other countries for our ability to run this machine called America. They are going to have more transportation and a greater possibility of transportation accidents. That is what we are faced with now.

Clearly, I appreciate the two statements that were made by President Obama's old director of the EPA that the endangerment finding is based on the science that we now know is false science. By the way, even though it is not the end of the world that the Murkowski resolution failed, four key lawsuits are filed challenging the law on which they are basing this endangerment finding.

Even if we were to pass any of the cap-and-trade bills, it would not reduce worldwide emissions any. It would only affect the United States. I argue it would increase CO2 emissions because as we lose jobs in the United States with cap and trade and force a lot of our manufacturers to other countries--they would go to countries such as China, India, and Mexico where they don't even have strong emissions standards.

With that, let's not politicize this any more. If they want to bring up cap and trade, let's do it, and we can defeat it like we have done over the past 10 years.

I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.


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