By Andrew Restuccia and Ben Geman - 05/31/11 08:45 PM EDT
"By selecting John Bryson to head the Department of Commerce, President Obama is clearly demonstrating that he has no intention of backing down from his job-killing agenda," Inhofe said in a statement Tuesday.
Inhofe, one of the most outspoken climate skeptics in Congress, criticized Bryson for co-founding the Natural Resources Defense Council, a leading environmental group, and for serving as a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change.
“[I]t is understandable that President Obama would select John Bryson as his nominee: he is a founder of a radical environmental organization and a member of a United Nations advisory group on climate change,” Inhofe said.
Inhofe’s office also flagged several of Bryson’s statements about climate change.
In a March 2010 speech Bryson called the cap-and-trade bill that narrowly passed the House in 2009 – a measure portrayed among many Republicans as an economy-threatening nightmare – a “moderate but acceptable bill.”
Bryson made the comment when discussing the late 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, calling the outcome a glass at least half-full despite several mitigating factors – including the fact that the full Congress had not provided the White House legislation that contained mandatory emissions curbs.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) blasted Bryson earlier Tuesday, calling him a “green evangelist.”
But Obama touted Bryson's clean-energy credentials Tuesday.
"Throughout a distinguished career in which he’s led nonprofits, government agencies, and large companies, he’s been a fierce proponent of alternative energy," Obama said in announcing his decision to nominate Bryson.
Bryson served as CEO of Edison International, a California-based electric power generator, for 18 years; he is board chairman of BrightSource Energy, a California-based solar company; and he spent years working on energy and water issues in California in the 1970s and 1980s.
Here’s more on Bryson’s career in the energy and environmental sector.