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Election Reflection

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You are concerned about climate change, are alarmed that mankind is worsening it, and reside in a state where a Senate contest is on tap for the fall.

If that is the case, you should think long and hard before casting your vote. Should the Republicans win back the majority in the Senate, here is what awaits the nation by the GOP leaders' own admission.

The first order of business would be an attempt to bypass a pending lawsuit in a Nebraska state court and approve construction of the environmentally controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline. That would be followed by efforts to roll back President Obama's regulation of coal-fired power plants' carbon emissions and any other of his environmental initiatives that might be found vulnerable. Federal subsidies for clean, renewable energy would certainly fall within that category.

Should Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell be reelected along with a Republican majority in the Senate, he would almost certainly be chosen majority leader.

When asked about his views on global warming during an interview with the Cincinnati Inquirer last March, McConnell replied that "for everybody who thinks the planet is warming, I can find somebody who thinks it is not." He also has pledged to attach to spending bills numerous riders to obstruct and reverse Obama's "green" agenda.

That doesn't sound like much of a plan to firm up environmental protection.

Sem. James Inhofe of Oklahoma is ranking minority member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. He leaves no doubt that if he is reelected (and is heavily favored to be so) and his party recaptures the Senate majority, he will claim the chairmanship of the Environment Committee. Once he has done that, he vows to do everything in his power to "end the war on fossil fuels... and immediately attack the over regulation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)."

Inhofe insists global warming is a hoax. "The arrogance of people," he says, "to think that human beings would be able to change what God is doing in the climate is to me outrageous."

The Oklahoma lawmaker would like to see Congress rather than the EPA promulgate major environmental rules, even though such an arrangement would be highly impractical. Moreover, the general public has indicated in polls that it much prefers the EPA rather than Congress to handle the daily business of regulating the environment.

As testimony to the Republicans' stated environmental intent, they are receiving the lion's share of campaign contributions from the electric utility and oil and gas industries.

Even if the GOP should win a majority of the Senate in the fall, they would not have enough votes to kill a Democratic filibuster or overturn President Obama's veto. Still, they could clog the wheels of environmental protection and elevate the confrontation with the president to a new nasty level.

More governmental paralysis? Stagnation in environmental progress or worse? It is something to think about when entering the voting booth this November.