Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, blasted President Obama's remarks today at an AP luncheon in Washington, where he accused Republicans of environmental hypocrisy. The President said, "Cap and trade was originally proposed by conservatives and Republicans as a market-based solution to solving environmental problems. Now, you've got the other party essentially saying "we shouldn't even be thinking about environmental protection; Let's gut the EPA.'"
"Before President Obama goes around accusing Republicans of hypocrisy and disregarding environmental protection, he would be wise to remember that overwhelming bipartisan opposition has kept any global warming cap-and-trade legislation from reaching the Senate floor since June 2008, and it was soundly rejected by both Democrats and Republicans," Senator Inhofe said. "Just how unpopular was his cap-and-trade approach? Remember, it was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who said, 'We don't use the word cap and trade...That's something that's been deleted from my dictionary,' and as Senator Kerry was introducing his own global warming cap-and-trade bill, he claimed, 'I don't know what cap and trade means.' Even President Obama heeded the Democrat pollsters' advice to scratch using "cap-and-trade' and "global warming' during the debate because those terms had become toxic to the American public. Yet President Obama can't seem to let go. That is why he is determined to impose his global warming cap-and-trade agenda through regulation because he couldn't get it passed through legislation, even when he had overwhelming Democrat majorities in both the House and Senate.
"President Obama's remarks today are completely misleading because he is suggesting that Republicans once supported cap-and-trade for all emissions - nothing could be farther from the truth. Republicans have supported cap-and-trade programs for real pollutants, because they achieve efficiency in emissions reductions. But cap-and-trade does not work for greenhouse gases, which are ubiquitous and whose regulation will achieve no environmental benefits.
"The irony here is that it was President Obama and his Democratic allies - not Republicans - who blocked the passage of the most aggressive legislation in history to reduce emissions of real pollutants from power plants. Even as I was working to defeat global warming cap-and-trade, I was also working to pass my Clear Skies legislation, which would have used a cap-and-trade program to achieve a 70% reduction of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury from power plants by 2018. Think about that: as we debate President Obama's job-killing rules today, we could have had a plan in place to reduce real pollutants by 70%. But who stopped this legislation? None other than Senator Obama, who was serving on the Environment and Public Works Committee in 2005 when I introduced the bill, and Senate Democrats. They blocked the effort because it was a common-sense solution that protected jobs while achieving environmental progress. It did not regulate greenhouse gases so it didn't cause enough economic pain for their taste.
"In short, President Obama's speech was nothing more than an attempt to deflect blame for his failed energy policies, which are designed to make electricity and gas prices skyrocket, while destroying hundreds of thousands of jobs. This nonsense needs to end. We should be focusing on promoting policies that improve our environment without harming our economy. That's what Republicans are trying to do - President Obama's back-door global warming agenda does just the opposite."