The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed greenhouse gas rules are meant to intimidate lawmakers into passing climate change legislation, one Republican senator argued Thursday.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a global warming skeptic and ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, said that EPA was unlikely to follow through on its threat to issue new rules to businesses on emissions.

"They can do it, but I have a different feeling about this," Inhofe said during an interview yesterday evening on CNBC. "I don't think they really want to do it; I think they want to use this to intimidate Congress to pass this."

Inhofe said that the Obama administration and the EPA wouldn't want to have to take responsibility for imposing new measures that could result in higher taxes and fees for families and businesses, and would rather hang that burden around the necks of lawmakers in Congress.

He said that the EPA's notice this week that it is considering issuing new rules unilaterally if Congress doesn't act.

"My feeling is they're using this for intimidation purposes," Inhofe asserted. "I don't think we're going to see it, because they don't want to be responsible for having to tell the American people this is a big tax increase."