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Public Statements

Flood Insurance and Modernization Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, as we know, the Senate will take a vote this week on the CRA that I have offered concerning Utility MACT. Utility MACT is a requirement. MACT, of course--M A C T--means maximum achievable controlled technology. One of the problems with the overregulation we have with a lot of these emissions is that there is no technology to accommodate this. In the case of Utility MACT, I think everyone understands now that this is an effort to kill coal. I know there are a lot of reasons people have, but recently some things have happened, and I thought I would mention them as we look toward this bill. It looks as though it is going to be on Wednesday. It looks as if there will be some speaking time on Tuesday, and on Wednesday we will actually have the vote.

As we all know, a CRA is an effort for elected officials to reflect upon overregulation and to stop a regulation. After all, we are the ones who are accountable to the people and not the Environmental Protection Agency.

The breaking news is that President Obama just issued a statement this afternoon that he will veto my resolution if it passes. Just before that announcement from the White House this afternoon, Representatives Ed Markey and Henry Waxman came out fighting with a new report detailing what Representative Waxman has called the most anti-environmental

House of Representatives in history. I wish to remind my Democratic friends that 19 House Democrats supported the companion legislation in the House--the same thing we will be voting on here. Democrats and many of the labor unions have sent letters in support of my resolution, so it is not just Republicans whose constituents are feeling the pain of the EPA's regulations.

To my Democratic friends in the House, I beg to differ--it is not that this Congress is anti-environmental; it is that the EPA is the most radical EPA in history, aggressive to the point that even the left-leaning Washington Post has called out the Agency for ``earning a reputation for abuse.'' Of course, this is the same EPA whose top officials have told us they are out to crucify the American energy producers.

We all remember the sixth area of the EPA, when Mr. Armendariz came out and made this statement to some of his supporters: We need to do the same thing the Romans did. We remember back in the old days when they were going around the Mediterranean and they would go into the towns in Turkey and they would crucify the first five people they would see. That gets them under their control.

He said: That is what we have to do.

He said: That is going to be our operation.

Well, we went through that, and of course he is no longer there.

Over the course of President Obama's Presidency, whatever they could not achieve through legislation they have tried to achieve through aggressive, onerous EPA regulations. They tried first of all to do it through legislation. Remember the cap-and-trade legislation--they tried for 10 years to get that done. Finally, each year they brought it up, more and more people in this body, the U.S. Senate, were opposed to a cap-and-trade system to do away with greenhouse gases and to put regulations on them. Well, every time a vote comes up, there is a larger majority opposed to it because the people of this country are concerned about the economy and the fact that this would be very costly. It was President Obama who said that with the cap-and-trade regulations, it would be very expensive.
Now, when they couldn't pass the Clean Water Restoration Act, the same thing happened. Remember, that was introduced by Senator Feingold from Wisconsin and by Representative Oberstar in the House. And not only did they defeat overwhelmingly the Clean Water Restoration Act, but the two individuals who were the sponsors in the House and the Senate were both defeated in the next election.

So just how radical is President Obama on environmental issues? By imposing these backdoor global warming cap-and-trade regulations through the EPA, President Obama is fulfilling his campaign promise that energy prices would necessarily skyrocket--his words. By vetoing the Keystone Pipeline, he gave the far left what one of his supporters called the biggest global warming victory in years. By finalizing the most expensive EPA rule in history, he is making good on his campaign promise that if anybody wants to build a coal-fired powerplant, they can; it is just that it will bankrupt them. And he succeeded in throwing hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars out the window on companies such as Solyndra, which he said would lead us to a brighter and more prosperous future.

But President Obama is not running on this record of accomplishments. Why? Because Americans are worse off, not better off, for it. They are out of work, and they are struggling to make ends meet under the pain of regulations that cause their energy prices to skyrocket. So he is running as far away from that radical record as possible.

So what are we trying to do in the Senate by stopping Utility MACT? We are trying to prevent the President from achieving another aspect of his radical global warming agenda and hopefully restore some sanity and balance to this out-of-control regulatory regime.

I think everyone in this body can agree that we all share a commitment to improving air quality, that it should be done in a way that doesn't harm jobs and the economy and cause electricity prices to skyrocket on every American or do away with one of the most reliable, abundant, affordable energy resources--coal. We have to keep in mind that right now, in order to run this machine called America, 50 percent of it is actually being done on coal.

I wish to address the public health debate which has long been the excuse for those in this administration who simply want to kill coal. It was certainly the excuse President Obama used today to defend his decision to veto my resolution. Let's be clear about one thing from the outset: If the effort behind Utility MACT were really about public health, then my Democratic colleagues would have joined our efforts way back in 2005 and passed the Clear Skies bill--a bill that would have put a plan in place to achieve a 70-percent reduction in mercury emissions--but they didn't. We all remember why. We wanted to include in this bill So

X, No

X, and mercury--the real pollutants--a mandatory 70-percent reduction, and they said we can't do it because we don't also have CO 2 anthropogenic gases that are covered by this bill. So it was held hostage, and consequently we weren't able to get it passed.

I can remember President Obama said:

I voted against the Clear Skies bill. In fact, I was the deciding vote despite the fact that I'm a coal State and that half of my State thought I'd thoroughly betrayed them because I thought clean air was critical and global warming was critical.

At an Environment and Public Works hearing in April of this year, Senator Barrasso asked Brenda Archambo from the National Wildlife Federation if the American people would have been better off if the Senate had passed the Clear Skies bill back in 2005, and her answer was ``absolutely.'' Of course, the National Wildlife Federation was not happy that we were calling attention to Ms. Archambo's admission, so over the weekend they accused my staff of twisting her words. My staff did nothing of the sort. Not only did Ms. Archambo say that mercury reductions in 2005 would absolutely have made Americans better off, she reiterated that same point later when Senator Barrasso asked her again, ``It would have been better if they had done it in 2005?'' Ms. Archambo replied, ``Sure.'' The entire exchange from the hearing has been posted on our EPW Web site for anyone who wants to see exactly what was said.

I do not think it gets any clearer than that. Commonsense reductions earlier would have made us better off. That was 2005 when we would have had these reductions, mandatory reductions, in a very short period of time; and that time is more than 50 percent expired at this time.

In a National Wildlife Federation blog accusing me of twisting Ms. Archambo's words, the author says:

An odd part of Sen. Inhofe's attack: He's essentially saying a 70% reduction in mercury emissions would've been just dandy, but the 91% reduction proposed by the EPA would destroy the economy. Is that really such a huge difference? Or is he just playing politics with public health?

That is a good question: What is the difference between Clear Skies and Utility MACT? It is very simple. Clear Skies would have reduced emissions dramatically--by 70 percent--now we are talking about reducing emissions on SO

X, NO

X, and mercury--but it would have done it without threatening to kill coal and the millions of jobs that coal sustains.

On the other hand, Utility MACT is specifically designed to kill coal. It makes no effort whatsoever to balance environmental protection and economic growth.

Now who is playing politics with public health? If public health were the priority, why did President Obama and his fellow Democrats vote against a 70-percent reduction way back in 2005?

What is this effort about? It is about one thing: killing coal. And killing coal is the centerpiece of their radical global warming agenda. Remember then-Senator Obama said that he voted against the health benefits in Clear Skies because he thought ``global warming was critical.'' In other words, global warming was more important than any of the considerations regarding health. And these are real pollutants: SO

X, NO

X, and mercury.

Importantly, the Senate will take this vote on my resolution just as the world leaders are gathering in Rio de Janeiro. Right now they are down there gathering at the Rio + 20 Sustainable Development Conference.

Let's remember what happened 20 years ago. In 1992, that was the conference in Rio where they all got together, and they were going to be doing all these things on anthropogenic gases and all of that. President Obama, who is now busy pretending to be a fossil fuel President to garner votes, will not be attending. But he is sending his ``green team'' to negotiate on his behalf.

What is this conference about? As Fox News reported back in April:

The main goal of the much-touted, Rio + 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development ..... is to make dramatic and enormously expensive changes in the way that the world does nearly everything--or, as one of the documents puts it, ``a fundamental shift in the way we think and act.''

Utility MACT is a huge part of this effort to change the way we live and to spread the wealth around, and that is what they are talking about down there. We have started invoking a new tax system.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon proposes how sustainable development challenges ``can and must be addressed.'' He included--now I am quoting him--more than $2.1 trillion a year in wealth transfers from rich countries to poorer countries, in the name of fostering ``green infrastructure,'' ``climate adaptation,'' and other ``green economy'' measures.

He is advocating for new carbon taxes--that is on us--for industrialized countries that could cost about $250 billion a year or 0.6 percent of gross domestic product by 2020. Other environmental taxes are mentioned but not specified.
Also included are further unspecified price hikes that extend beyond fossil fuels to anything derived from agriculture, fisheries, forestry, or other kinds of land and water use, all of which would be radically reorganized. These cost changes would ``contribute to a more level playing field between the established, `brown' technologies and newer, greener ones.''

He has advocated for major global social spending programs, including a ``social protection floor'' and ``social safety nets'' for the world's most vulnerable social groups for reasons of ``equity.''

It is all talking about more higher taxes on the developed world to go to the benefit of the underdeveloped world. This is the same thing they were talking about 20 years ago.

I think it is very timely that this is happening today. It is happening at the very moment we will be voting on Wednesday as to whether to kill coal. By the way, this is the only vote that will be taken this year or probably ever to ultimately kill coal. Once this is passed, then, of course, the contracts are all broken and we have to figure out: What are we going to do in this country? If you kill coal, how do we run this machine called America? The answer to that question is, you cannot do it.

So it is very important, and I do not think there is any doubt in anyone's mind that the real purpose of the vote that will take place on Wednesday is to kill coal in America. And America cannot provide the necessary energy to run its machine and be competitive without coal. So it is a critical vote, and it is one that I think people are aware of that is going to be taking place.

With that, I yield the floor.

I suggest the absence of a quorum.

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