Sen. Inhofe pledges to block Commerce nomination

"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.