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Senators duel over climate change: Obama was on the verge of spurring the ‘biggest regulatory avalanche in U.S. history.’

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  • Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said Obama was on the verge of spurring the “biggest regulatory avalanche in U.S. history.”
  • Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., accused the EPA of working “to wipe out coal and eventually natural gas.” “It is clear that this EPA and this administration has an agenda, and that agenda is hurting jobs (and) raising energy costs,” he said. “This EPA is on the wrong side of the war on poverty.”
  • Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said the plans for tackling climate change — including new limits on utilities’ greenhouse gas emissions — represent “a massive, bureaucratic, expensive plan that will . . . cost jobs . . . and make our economy less competitive.”

Senate Democrats outlined the potential for large-scale economic and geological disruption from climate change — and insisted that the U.S. must act immediately.

  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said the evidence of climate change is already being witnessed in more acidic oceans and rising seas. “Our sea levels are rising,” he said. “It’s not complicated. You measure that with a yardstick.”
  • Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., used his inaugural Environment and Public Works hearing to blame industry for “epidemic asthma rates” and pollution in the Northeast. “Those who are doing the polluting (should) be held accountable,” he said. And he made a case for urgency. “We cannot afford to be too late and tarry away in needless and senseless discussion that undermine our ability to act.”
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