Jim Inhofe, the Republican Senator from Oklahoma, already has his sights set at becoming the head of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee again. He claims that if the Republicans regain the majority in the Senate – a likely possibility given early election projections – he thinks the position will be his for the taking.
This news is beyond troubling. Senator Inhofe has no interest in running the environmental committee other than to run it into the ground. Here are six reasons that Inhofe is a bad choice for the role:
1. He’s the Biggest Global Warming Denier in Congress
Granted, a full 58% of Republicans reject climate change science, but when it comes to intense climate change denial, Inhofe literally wrote the book on it: “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.” That’s right, Inhofe posits that you are in danger not because of climate change, but because people are talking about climate change.
Inhofe slams scientists for not taking a biblical view of the world. He thinks it’s “arrogant” for people to assume anyone but God can change the climate.
2. Climate Change Only Matters When It Affects Him
Inhofe proved himself a hypocrite last year when he voted to allocate his own state relief money following destructive tornados, just months after vocally opposing sending funds to states devastated by Hurricane Sandy. This hypocrisy is especially ripe given his own role in ensuring these types of natural disasters continue to occur. Scientists agree that extreme weather is the result of a changing climate, so his politicized agenda only puts citizens – both in and out of Oklahoma – at a greater risk.
3. He’s Paid for by the Oil Companies
During his tenure in Senate, Inhofe has voted to support private oil interests a glaring 100% of the time. His allegiance to these companies should come as no surprise given the financial windfall they provide to him. Of all the politicians willing to sell their support, Inhofe receives the largest donations from the oil industry in all of Congress. In total, he’s received more than $1.5 million from these corporations.
4. He’s Committed to Protecting Any Business’ Profits, Really
Don’t hold your breath at Inhofe drawing the line at toxins being leaked into the environment or fracking poisoning the water supply. A few years ago, he actually spearheaded a movement against requiring contractors to demonstrate that lead isn’t present in their buildings. While it seems like an easy public safety issue, Inhofe had a different take and rallied Republican support behind him.
“The intent of the rule, public health protection especially for children and pregnant woman, is something everyone supports, but it needs to happen in a way that does not place costly or confusing burden on those trying to implement it,” he said. In other words, he cares about the safety of children… unless ensuring it requires rich people to spend any money to do so, in which case his allegiance is totally with saving such people their wealth instead.
5. All Environmental Issues Get a Straight Up “No” from Him
The League of Conservation Voters charts the votes of members of Congress on environmental issues of all sorts and keeps a detailed scorecard. Inhofe has one of the worst scores in all of Congress for a long-term politician: 5%. In other words, 19 out of 20 times that any environmental issue comes onto the Senate floor, he votes against it. This record shows that he’s not just a man who doesn’t care about the environment, but that he’s also actively working against it.
6. He Has Better Ideas for that Environmental Money
This month, Inhofe complained to the media that Obama has “wasted” $120 billion in an effort to curb global warming. He feels that money can be better spent on… the military! Never mind that the military is already the best-funded U.S. program by leaps and bounds. Never mind that we’ve spent $1.5 trillion on the military and wars in the past 13 years. Inhofe believes that climate change money should be used to “buy 1,400 F-35s” instead.