Senator Named To Environmental Group's List

Tuesday, October 9th 2007, 5:11 pm
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Senator Jim Inhofe is the first member of Congress to make a political group's 2008 Dirty Dozen list for calling global warming a ``hoax'' and voting against key environmental protections. The League of Conservation Voters, a nonprofit Washington D.C. group that works to elect pro-environmental candidates, made the announcement Tuesday.

``When you're on the Dirty Dozen, that means you're out of step with voters,'' said Tony Massaro, senior vice president with the league. ``(Inhofe) is one of the leading global warming deniers still left on planet earth, and there aren't many of them.''

Inhofe issued a statement criticizing the league as a special interest group that ``measures the greenness of politicians by how many federal laws they impose on the American people.''

The senator did not mention global warming, but said the group ignored parts of his record on the environment and was ``notably silent'' about his role in cleaning up the Tar Creek Superfund site in northeastern Oklahoma.

The group's Dirty Dozen list, launched in 1996, targets lawmakers from all parties who consistently vote against the environment and are up for re-election in races where the group has a chance to affect the outcome.

Since the list debuted, 28 of 49 anti-environment candidates named on it have been defeated, including nine of 13 lawmakers in the 2006 election cycle.

Inhofe, the former chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is among the most prominent critics of global warming, and once called the theory ``the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.''

Those positions, among others, put the Republican at odds with President Bush and his own party, Massaro said.

``They call it a bully pulpit for a reason,'' Massaro said. ``And he uses that pulpit with as much strength as he can possibly muster. He's lining up against science, against voters and members of his own party.''

Inhofe said he was proud to have backed policies that ``have continued the American tradition of encouraging individuals to find innovative ways to protect the environment.''

``Laws and regulations should be implemented in ways that respect property rights and encourage economic growth while giving the environment ample protections,'' he said.

Inhofe is running for re-election next year. He was elected to fill an unexpired term in 1994 and was re-elected to the Senate in 1996 and 2002.

Last month, first-term Democratic state Senator Andrew Rice announced he would run for Inhofe's seat.