Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Senator Inhofe tries to kneecap critics

You may recall that Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) has had a running battle with state and local environmental officials, who opposed his dirty-air position on the so-called “clear skies” plan. Earlier Inhofe sought their tax records in what appeared to be an attempt at intimidation.

And now Inhofe is gunning for his critics’ kneecaps. He has prepared an amendment (attached) to a spending bill for the EPA and other agencies that could take away financial support for those critics. The amendment would require “open competition” for grants to organizations to represent state and local environmental agencies.

The way this is worded, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – a bitter foe of tougher environmental requirements – could join the bidding. So could some front group.

The amendment is so broadly worded that it would not only hit the groups Inhofe has battled with (The State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators/Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials), but other state associations as well.

It is still unclear at this point if Inhofe will actually offer the amendment. The state and local associations have just written a letter to key senators opposing this effort to kneecap them.


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