Inhofe to head environment, global warming committee if GOP takes Senate

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe says he’s in line to head the Senate committee that handles global warming and environmental issues if Republicans are able to recapture the chamber in this year’s elections.

“Speaking to about 50 plant managers and others associated with Tulsa Port of Catoosa tenants, Inhofe said a Republican victory would make him chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee ,” reports the Tulsa World.

While Inhofe said that a Republican victory would put him back on top of the EPW committee, his primary goal is to help the GOP retake the Senate this fall, according to his staff.

“Senator Inhofe is first and foremost focused on helping Republicans gain the majority back in the Senate,” Inhofe’s spokeswoman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “As to whether he will be Chairman of EPW next year or remain Ranking Member of Senate Armed Services Committee, Inhofe has said that either leadership position is an honor as both allow him to best serve Oklahomans.”

Inhofe formerly led the Environment and Public Works Committee during the George W. Bush years when Republicans still controlled the Senate. During that time he earned renown from the right and scorn from the left for his skepticism of man-made global warming. He was one of the key opponents to the 2009 and 2010 effort to pass cap-and-trade legislation.

The Oklahoma senator has been hammered by environmentalists for calling global warming a “hoax” and for calling into question claims that the burning of fossil fuels is causing the Earth to warm at an unprecedented rate. Inhofe has continually pointed out that the planet has not warned in the past 17 years.

Inhofe wrote a book called “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future” and authored a report that argues that “anyone who pays even cursory attention to the issue understands that scientists vigorously disagree over whether human activities are responsible for global warming, or whether those activities will precipitate apocalyptic natural disasters.”

The report adds that, “Energy suppression, as official government and nonpartisan private analyses have amply confirmed, means higher prices for food, medical care, and electricity, as well as massive job losses and drastic reductions in gross domestic product, all the while providing virtually no environmental benefit.”

“Those who have read my book, ‘The Greatest Hoax,’ know that this goes way back a long period of time, started by the United Nations,” Inhofe said in January. “When they first started talking about the Kyoto Treaty [President Bill] Clinton and [Vice President Al] Gore, they were all excited about it, and they never submitted it for ratification because they didn’t have the votes.”

“Then we pursued some of these fine scientists who said that the U.N. had rigged the science; then of course in ’09 when ClimateGate came, people realized the United Nations committee, the IPCC, had rigged the science on this thing,” Inhofe continued. “Now they’re trying to say this cold thing we’re going through now is just a bump in the climate. That isn’t true at all. It is a hoax.”

Inhofe is currently the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee and a senior member of the EPW committee. He was replaced by Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter as the ranking EPW member in the 113th Congress while California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer has held the gavel on the committee.

Republican rules allow senators to serve six years as committee chairs. Inhofe could serve two more years as head of EPW if Republicans retake the Senate in the fall.

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