The exchange occurred during the Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on Gina McCarthy, the top EPA air regulator President Obama nominated to run the whole agency.
“It is a debate about global warming and whether or not we are going to listen to the leading scientists of this country, who are telling us that global warming is the most serious planetary crisis that we, as the global community, face, and whether we are going to address that crisis in a serious manner,” Sanders said.
He noted the views of the “overwhelming majority of scientists” on climate change. “That is what the issue is, and that is why I am supporting Gina McCarthy,” Sanders said of global warming.
McCarthy has drawn criticism from conservatives for various regulations that the agency has issued in recent years, including a proposed rule setting carbon emissions standards for new coal-fired power plants and separate regulations setting air toxics rules for existing plants.
EPA critics say multiple regulations issued under Obama's administration will burden various industries, especially the coal industry, and hurt the economy.
Inhofe said the country has the chance to become energy independent, but told McCarthy, “the regulations coming out of your agency have had the most damaging effects.”