03/02/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Carol Browner Strikes Fear Into The Hearts Of Coal Allies

Rather than taking aim at Jackson or Sutley, Republican senators feeling apprehensive about the new administration's goals directed their fire at the woman who wasn't there: Browner, who as EPA administrator throughout the Clinton years was a fierce advocate of enforcing and expanding environmental regulations. Later she was a fierce critic of President Bush's stewardship of the air, land, and waterways, calling the Texas oilman's tenure "the worst environmental administration ever."

At the hearing, the panel's ranking Republican, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, worried aloud that Sutley's job "has been diluted" by the creation of Browner's post, variously dubbed "energy czar" or "climate czar." Inhofe, who dismisses global warming as a "hoax," had earlier described Browner as "a proud liberal who has long advocated an environmentalist agenda that would drive up energy costs on families and put thousands of Americans out of jobs."

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