Politics

Inhofe likely to make sharp turn in direction of Senate’s environment committee

WASHINGTON — Senator James M. Inhofe, who once compared the Environmental Protection Agency to the Gestapo, is likely to lead the Environment and Public Works Committee when the Republicans take control of the Senate next year.

The Oklahoma Republican appears set to replace chairwoman Barbara Boxer of California, an avowed environmentalist, producing one of the starkest post-election changes in the Capitol. Assignments will be made when Senate party caucuses meet.

Inhofe, who has served in the Senate for two decades, chaired the committee from 2003 to 2008. The former US representative and Tulsa mayor criticized federal bureaucrats, particularly those at the EPA who he said threatened the energy industry in his home state.

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In his 2012 book, ‘‘The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future,’’ Inhofe describes himself as a lonely crusader against an environmental-liberal conspiracy. ‘‘First I stood alone in saying that anthropogenic [manmade] catastrophic global warming is a hoax,’’ he wrote.

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Shortly after becoming committee chairman in 2003, Inhofe took issue with the theory that increasing carbon dioxide emissions causes catastrophic disasters. ‘‘Actually,’’ he said, ‘‘global warming can be beneficial to mankind,’’ helping improve the environment and the economy.

The book lays out his belief that the EPA needed to be constrained.