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Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe clashes with colleagues over air pollution rule

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe wants to kill a new rule limiting mercury emissions from power plants, but a bipartisan alternative has emerged to give utilities more time to comply.
by Chris Casteel Published: June 13, 2012

— Sen. Jim Inhofe urged his colleagues on Tuesday to support his effort to kill a new air pollution rule, while an Arkansas senator called Inhofe's proposal “over the top” and said it would allow utility companies to pollute at will.

Inhofe, R-Tulsa, has been trying to round up support to block the implementation of a rule that would limit the emissions of mercury and toxic chemicals from power plants.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Inhofe said the rule is part of President Barack Obama's “war on coal” and that it would cost jobs in numerous coal-producing states while raising consumers' electricity bills.

Inhofe also launched a pre-emptive strike on a bipartisan alternative to his bill, which would delay the new rule for six years to give utility companies time to adapt.

Differing opinions

Inhofe said the alternative, by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Mark Pryor, D-Ark., was designed to give senators “cover'' in opposing the resolution to block the EPA rule altogether.

“I'd like to say to my colleagues that your constituents will see right through those of you who choose the cover bill,” Inhofe said. “The American people are pretty smart and they know that there is only one real solution and that's to stop, not just delay, EPA's war on coal.”

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by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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