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Sen. Inhofe: Huge EPA Budget Cuts Will Prevent Agency From 'Brainwashing Our Kids'

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Sen. Inhofe: Huge EPA Budget Cuts Will Prevent Agency From 'Brainwashing Our Kids'

Snowball-throwing Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma has accused the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of releasing "propaganda" that is "brainwashing our kids."

Inhofe said the remarks during an interview on CNN's "New Day" as he discussed President Trump's drastic $2.8 billion cut to the EPA, or nearly a third of the agency's $8.1 billion current budget.

The Republican lawmaker said that the cuts—which would slash climate- and science-related research, grants, programs and agencies—are "good for the American people."

"We ought to make things clean," Inhofe continued. "But we ought to take all this stuff that comes out of the EPA that's brainwashing our kids, that is propaganda, things that aren't true, allegations."

Inhofe did not go into the specifics to back up his claim, but has said the "brainwashing" comment before. In a 2016 radio interview, he accused schools of brainwashing children.

"My own granddaughter came home one day and said … 'Popi, why is it you don't understand global warming?' I did some checking, and Eric, the stuff that they teach our kids nowadays, they are brainwash—you have to un-brainwash them when they get out…"

Later in the "New Day" interview, host Poppy Harlow asked Inhofe about his opinion of EPA head Scott Pruitt, who has sued the EPA more than a dozen times as Oklahoma Attorney General and stirred new controversy when he said that carbon dioxide is not the primary contributor to climate change, contrary to accepted science.

Inhofe defended Pruitt, saying the former AG was doing a "good job" trying to block "aggressive over-regulations ... that was very detrimental to our economy."

Going further, Harlow highlighted Oklahoma's alarming spate of induced-earthquakes likely caused by the injection of fracking wastewater into underground wells.

"It's the EPA that regulates that," she remarked. "Are you comfortable with [big EPA cuts] ... that may mean more of these earthquakes in your home state?"

Inhofe, a member and former chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee chairman, then incorrectly responded that wastewater disposal was the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, not the EPA.

"No, it is the EPA," Harlow shot back. To prove her point, she pulled up a graphic of mandates that states, "EPA regulates the construction, operation, permitting and closure of injection wells used to place fluids underground for storage or disposal."

Inhofe's statement after that is pretty excruciating to watch, at least in my opinion:

Inhofe is an outspoken climate change skeptic who threw a snowball across the Senate floor in Feb. 2015 to show that just because it's snowing, global warming isn't real.

"In case we have forgotten, because we keep hearing that 2014 has been the warmest year on record, I ask the chair, do you know what this is?" Inhofe said then. "It's a snowball. And it's just from outside here. So it's very, very cold out. Very unseasonable."

In an op-ed published on USA TODAY on Wednesday, Inhofe praised the Trump administration's actions to roll back environmental regulations.

"This is just scratching the surface of the work ahead for President Trump as he seeks to lift the heavy hand of regulations by the federal government on the private sector, and it should be a signal to the American people that this country is again open for business," Inhofe wrote.

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