WASHINGTON — Sen. Jim Inhofe warned Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency would unleash a raft of environmental regulations if President Barack Obama wins a second term.
Inhofe, R-Tulsa, released a report on proposed regulations governing air and water quality, and charged they had been deliberately delayed until after the election.
“President Obama has spent the past year punting on a slew of job-killing EPA regulations that will destroy millions of American jobs and cause energy prices to skyrocket even more,” Inhofe said.
“From greenhouse gas regulations to water guidance to the tightening of the ozone standard, the Obama EPA has delayed the implementation of rule after rule because they don't want all those pink slips and price spikes to hit until after the election.”
The EPA did not respond to a request for comment.
Scott Slesinger, legislative adviser to the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund, said his group would welcome the proposed regulations because they would “save a lot of lives and create new industries.” He said many, rather than being delayed for political reasons, had been bogged down in an “excruciatingly burdensome” process.
Slesinger called Inhofe's charge that the regulations would kill jobs “a big lie.”
“No matter how many times Senator Inhofe says the world is flat, it doesn't get any flatter,” Slesinger said.
Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate committee that oversees the EPA, said the agency has delayed new rules on smog and greenhouse gas emissions. The proposal for greenhouse gases would virtually ensure that no new coal-burning power plants are built, and it would eventually impose rules across numerous industries, Inhofe said.
Inhofe has said it is a “hoax” that greenhouse gases are contributing to global warming.
Obama, in remarks on Thursday unrelated to Inhofe's report, said at a campaign event in New Hampshire that investing in clean energy would create new jobs and industries and reduce “the carbon pollution that's heating our planet.”
“Climate change is not a hoax,” the president said. “Droughts and floods and fires, they're not a joke. They are a threat to our children's future and we've got to deal with it in a serious way that also grows our economy.”
Inhofe said the tighter smog standard proposed by the EPA would put several hundred counties out of compliance and stifle job creation. The senator's report cites a story by The New York Times suggesting the tighter standard was delayed because of a political shift toward the president's re-election.
Inhofe said the administration is also preparing regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing that could hinder oil and gas production on federal and private lands. And his report says the administration is planning to implement a new rule reducing the sulfur content in gasoline that will raise the price at the pumps.