Inhofe's 'Hoax' tells of the making of an anti-reg warrior

02-28-2012 // Jean Chemnick - E&E

This excerpt is from E&E (subscription required)

A clash with Tulsa's city engineer over a plan to move a fire escape launched the career of the Senate's anti-regulatory crusader and leading climate change skeptic, Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe.

That's the tale that Inhofe tells to start his new book, "The Greatest Hoax," which was released yesterday.

When the city engineer refused to budge on Inhofe's plan to move the fire escape on his mansion, it fueled his political ambitions.

"So I told him I was going to run for mayor and fire him," he said. "And I ran for mayor and I fired him."

Published by right-leaning WND Books, a division of WorldNetDaily, the book establishes Inhofe as an opponent of environmental regulations of all stripes long before 2003, when he famously told the Senate that climate change was "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."


But Joe Mendelson, director of global warming policy at the National Wildlife Federation, said Inhofe's admission that he is against regulation in almost every instance suggests that he arrived at his scientific skepticism through something other than an impartial look at the facts.

"He sort of comes at it from 'I am an anti-regulatory person, and therefore if there is something out there that may require a government response to address, I'm either going to ignore it or poke holes in the science so I don't have to get the regulation,'" he said.

Mendelson also disagreed with Inhofe that environmental regulation threatens personal freedom.

"The impacts of the pollution actually do impede our freedom," he said. "Our freedom to breath healthy air, our freedom to ensure that our family or our property is actually safeguarded from harm."

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