OKLAHOMA CITY (NEWSnet/AP) — Former Sen. Jim Inhofe, known for his support of defense spending and his denial of climate change, has died. He was 89.

Inhofe, a powerful fixture in Oklahoma politics for more than six decades, died Tuesday after he had a stroke over the July Fourth holiday, his family said.

Inhofe, who was elected to a fifth Senate term in 2020, resigned in early 2023.

Inhofe frequently criticized mainstream science’s claim that human activity contributed to changes in the Earth’s climate, once calling it “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”

In February 2015, with temperature in the nation’s capital below freezing, Inhofe brought a snowball on to the Senate floor. He tossed it before claiming that environmentalists focus attention on global warming as it kept getting cold.

“It’s very, very cold out. Very unseasonable,” Inhofe said.

Inhofe caught national attention in March 2009 by introducing legislation that would have prevented detainees from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay from being relocated “anywhere on American soil.”

Closer to home, Inhofe helped to secure millions of dollars for clean-up of a former mining hub in northeast Oklahoma that spent decades on Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund list. 

“This is an example of a government program created for a specific purpose and then dissolves after the job is completed. This is how government should work,” Inhofe said in December 2010, when the project was nearly complete.

In 2021, Inhofe voted to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, saying that to do otherwise would be a violation of his oath of office. He voted against convicting Trump at both impeachment trials.

Inhofe is survived by his wife, Kay, three children and several grandchildren. 

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