Congress Must Shift Climate Battle From Cap-and-Trade to EPA Agenda, Says Inhofe

By Penny Starr | July 1, 2011 | 5:55 AM EDT

U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) addresses a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. (Photo: Inhofe Web site)

( – Declaring himself to be “under the weather,” Sen. James Inhofe apologized Thursday for being unable to deliver his scheduled keynote address at the Heartland Institute’s sixth annual International Conference on Climate Change.

But in a letter read to conference attendees on Thursday, the Oklahoma Republican praised the work that the institute and others have done to “stop the global warming alarmist agenda,” including helping to defeat cap-and-trade legislation in Congress.

“Just as I told you we would at [a past] conference, we succeeded in defeating the bill by exposing the huge costs that would be imposed on the American people for no environmental gain,” Inhofe said in the letter. “I said that Senate Democrats would not be able to go back to their constituents and justify voting for the largest tax increase in American history.”

Inhofe said efforts to counter the global warming agenda must now focus on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which he said was trying to achieve through regulation what was not accomplished through legislation.

A first step was the passage in the U.S. House of the Upton-Inhofe bill which, he said, “would stop the EPA’s cap-and-trade agenda.”

Inhofe also criticized President Barack Obama’s appointment of John Bronson to head the Department of Commerce, describing him in the letter as “a committed green activist who supported legislation that would have imposed huge costs on consumers and shipped American jobs overseas.”

He concluded the letter by encouraging conference attendees to keep up the fight.

“I hope you agree with me that our work is far from over and we now have to focus on holding back the regulatory overreach and oppose nominees who have the mistaken belief that government is the answer, when we know that more often than not it is the problem,” Inhofe wrote.

Other speakers and panelists at the conference, which focused on scientific evidence that climate change occurs naturally and is not manmade, included climatologist and CATO Institute fellow Patrick Michaels, Marc Morano of, Christopher Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and climate experts Roy Spencer and S. Fred Singer.