Out of Ideas, Senate Climate Deniers Go To Procedural Tricks


Sen. James Inhofe (Image via Flickr)

The Senate's Environment and Public Works committee is set to begin mark up of the Senate climate bill next week, but Republicans on the committee, led by prominent climate change denier Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, are threatening to boycott the hearing, making progress difficult for chair Sen. Barbara Boxer of California. Inhofe claims a proper economic analysis of the bill hasn't yet been done, but Boxer is pushing back, setting up a showdown. Here's the history. After the House climate bill, known as Waxman-Markey, was released, the EPA performed a five-week analysis of its economic impacts. The result was a report that showed that the bill would have margin impacts on household budgets. The EPA says that that the Senate bill is 90 percent identical to the Waxman-Markey bill, so another analysis would be a reproduction of the first. The EPA chose to do a two week analysis and found that the economic impacts are similar.

ClimateWire does a great job explaining what came next:

But Boxer cannot hold the markup unless at least two Republicans show up, and EPW ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.) signaled that he has unanimous support among the panel's minority members to boycott the session until they get more data on the legislation from U.S. EPA and the Congressional Budget Office.

Inhofe said he will wait for Boxer to file an official notice of the markup -- expected today -- before responding with his own declaration of the GOP's markup strategy.

"As soon as we find out what her announcement is and what she wants to do, we'll have our response," Inhofe told E&E; last night. "We'll have our unanimous expression ready."

For her part, Boxer insisted that she would not back down from the markup, and she even opened the door to alternative approaches for moving the bill, including the use of Senate Rule 14 that allows the majority to discharge legislation out of a committee and bring it directly to the floor.

Such tactics only serve to reinforce the Republican label of the "Party of No." Only three Republicans voted for the House climate bill and the others never put forward a credible alternative to the legislation.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world is looking to the upcoming climate negotiations in Copenhagen as a place to make real commitments to curb the use of fossil fuels that are destroying the climate. It's clear that the game here is to create roadblocks and hurdles so nothing can get done, but that strategy is about to go down in flames in the health insurance reform debate.

While Inhofe and others dither, the climate is worsening and we continue to export billions to countries that don't share our values just to get the black gold, known as oil. Inhofe needs to explain why he's more concerned with thwarting progress than getting us off our addiction to fossil fuels.

More on the Climate Bills:

Historic Waxman-Markey Climate Change Bill Passes Energy & Commerce Committee: Praise and Criticism Starts Flowing
James Hansen Hopes Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Bill Fails: Has He Lost the Plot?

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