January 26th, 2009
03:50 PM ET
6 months ago

Senator accuses Pres. Obama of 'environmental thuggery'

Sen. Inhofe, foreground, spoke out Monday about the president's latest executive order.
Sen. Inhofe, foreground, spoke out Monday about the president's latest executive order.

(CNN) - Sen. James Inhofe called President Barack Obama’s plan to allow 14 states to regulate their own fuel emission standards “environmental thuggery” in an interview published Monday.

Obama’s executive order seeks to reduce greenhouse gases by allowing states like California to require stricter fuel standards for cars.

The Oklahoma senator a ranking member of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee and a longtime global warming skeptic, told CNN Monday the proposed plan would too costly for the beleaguered auto industry. “I think you’re going to see them coming in requesting more bailouts now as a result of this,” said Inhofe.

soundoff (322 Responses)
  1. z

    Liz January 26th, 2009 4:33 pm ET

    Twenty-five different emissions standards???? Real bright! I'm sure this is just what the American auto industry needs to get back on its feet! Smooth move, Obama! Get real and get a clue!

    To Liz....lets put your mouth around a tail pipe for a minute to breath and see which standard you would choose....LOL

    January 26, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  2. Tracy

    I didn't vote for obama and I do not believe we have caused any sort of global warming. What I do believe is we need to do what is right to protect our resources (which includes clean air, land, water etc.) and this is a good first step in that direction.

    If the auto makers are stupid enough (which I do not doubt) to make a different car for each different state rather then to simply improve their overall standards, then they deserve to fail. Sadly, it will be the foreign car companies that will fill the void they are to stubborn to fill.

    Ford already has a car they sell in Europe that gets 65mpg but they won't sell it here. Look up Fiesta ECOnetic and find out just how ridiculous these guys are.

    Obama, I didn't vote for you or mccain, but I appreciate some of the decisions you have made so far.

    January 26, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  3. ex

    I see how people are up in arms about the weakening of several industries and job losses. What they seem to not realize is that Obama speaks for many experts in seeing that these weakened industries have failed, even under free-market principles and what needs to be done is not the decapitation of an industry for the result of a high unemployment rate. If anyone has read any of Obama's books before criticizing him, they really have no weight to any argument they make. The goal in response to the faltering Big 3, in this case, is re-allocation of workers into new, more relevant industries to replace those that have failed.

    Since the Big 3 have had their chance, made billions upon billions of dollars, and as a result are unable to cope with a rapidly changing market and its demands, then free-market principles dictate that it should be allowed to die and be replaced by something better.

    Sure, reality also dictates that jobs must be protected. Therefore, what needs to be done, is to keep the Big 3 afloat – to an extent – while allowing the government to invest in emerging markets which are far more likely to put displaced workers back to work in a field they are familiar with, while safely letting the Big 3 and their out dated business models expire.

    January 26, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  4. Super

    Global Warming is a religion just like any other value system that is based on belief. The senator chooses not to believe. Just because the media claim something to be true like a steady drumbeat doesn't make it so. Have you allowed your critical thinking skills to be completely neutered? If you actually read OBJECTIVE scientific research (that's is right, not all scientists are objective in their research...so "buyer beware") you find that global warming is real (although minimal) but the extent and cause and whether it is part of a larger cycle that we don't understand is yet to be determined by OBJECTIVE heads. So in the meantime, yes, lets go green because it is cleaner, cheaper, and reduces our dependence on foreign nations not because it is the latest dogmatic cause dejour mania.

    January 26, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  5. Independant Thinker

    How STUPID are you Obama????

    Here we are trying to SAVE the auto industry and you impose an IDIOTIC rule like this???

    Anybody that knows anything in the least about manufacturing, knows that the more diversity you add to a product line the LESS EFFICIENT and MORE COSTLY you become. This will do nothing but RAISE the price of cars as a whole, and that means for EVERYBODY. And guess what, fewer people will buy the very cars that are supposed to be saving the industry!!

    This is the SAME reason that gasoline prices are artificially so high. It is because our refineries have to make 17 or 18 different flavors of the SAME gasoline in order to meet the different EPA standards in different states. If our refineries only had to make 1 or 2 flavors of gasoline, it would cut the cost of refining tremendously. But NO, our government imposes the opposite rules on our auto and fuel industries and thus making the LESS EFFICIENT.

    I order to increase efficiency you REDUCE that the number of “like” autos or flavors of fuel you make, you don’t create more.

    Ford, GM and Chrysler already have this problem. The Ford and Mercury autos that are similar, the GM, Chevy, Pontiac, and Buick autos that are similar, and the Chrysler and Plymouth cars that are similar. Each of these manufacturers needs to delete their duplicate car lines, and Obama should not be imposing new stupid rules like this that will only make matters worse.

    Obama, when are you going to take that economics 101 course???

    President Obama, your IGNORANCE is showing!!!!!

    January 26, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  6. Annette

    There needs to be one regulation not several different regulations by each state. What a cluster that will be. Stand up and be a real leader Obama...drop the hammer on these auto companies and make them hold to a higher standard US wide. If the our new commander in chief believes these regulations need to be in place for our enviroment
    (and they do, sorry ,jmo no car or truck should be getting any less then 40 miles to the gallon in city) then he just use his executive power instead of pushing his job off on lower level goverment. Heck the dems are in control do we really think they will battle him on this. Sorry his approach on this is just one of a weany pushing his responsiblity off on others and trying to look like a hero for doing so. His actions will prove no better solution then Bush aurgh!

    January 26, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. paul (staunch Moderate)

    How can allowing states to set LOWER emissions standards be 'thugery'? That statement sounds like pure partisan b.s.

    Now when the previous administration refused to allow it sounds more like 'thugery' to me.

    January 26, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  8. Former Oklahoman

    The thing that makes this so funny is Oklahoma does not require any type of inspection of vehicles. You can drive any polluting hunk of junk you want to out there. There may be federal regulations on the emissions standard for cars being sold in the state, and right fully so, but if I want to drive my car that has not been serviced since 1980 and that has black exhaust fumes that are even visible to the human eye, I can.

    At least that is how it was 2 years ago before I moved from there.

    So a message to people opposed to harsher restrictions on emissions,
    Wake Up and Stop Killing our Planet!

    January 26, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  9. Marc

    John – January 26th, 2009 5:23 pm ET
    I've read the link, and read about that list. Problem is that there are those who are climate change skeptics (who honestly and with valid arguments doesn't believes in the Global Warming) and those who are climate change denialists (They trully don't believe in what they say about the non-existence of the Global Warming, they're just being paid for that), and the list cite members of both groups as if they thought the same thing. Plus, there is no such thing like a consensus among those who have honest doubts about the Global Warming; there are those who don't believe in it's existence, there are those who doesn't believe in the influence of Mankind in it (so they do believe in Global Warming) and there are those who stay somewhere inbetween the previous two groups.
    BUT, while the number of scientists that doesn't believes in Global Warming may seem to be growing (according to the link) in fact it's still a minority among real, unbiased and honest scientists. The 52 scientists cited in the link did not spoke for themselves, but representing the majority of the Scientific Community that agrees that there is a Global Warming... but disagrees about the causes, intensity and effects. So yes it is a theory (or a whole bunch of them), yet, since the technology that can help us to decipher many of the doubtsabout it is either too new or in development, but NO GOVERNMENT (not even USA under the 43rd president's second term) can any longer denies it and be taken seriously by the World.

    January 26, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  10. Ms. Johnson, Pearland,Texas

    Since when did this person start caring about the auto industry? Did he vote for the auto bailout? Oklahoma where not one county voted for President Obama. The home of T Boone Pickens with his negative self serving self. It is time for new thinking.

    January 26, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  11. Tempered

    Hahahahahahaha (breath) hahahahahahahaha . . . .

    January 26, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  12. Everyday Joe

    Oklahoma, your Senator is making us all look like fools. Do something about it!

    January 26, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. Joe - Chicago

    I love how republicans are all about the states making their own decisions, except when they don't like them.

    January 26, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  14. budburgoonclark

    Senator Inhofe a devout Re-thug-UGLI-can, accuses the PRESIDENT of "thuggery?"

    Give me a fraakin' break!

    I guess he doesn't "believe" in global warming because he hopes Oklahoma will become beachfront property.

    January 26, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  15. John

    Funny how these Republicans are all for states rights until they do something they don't like. And California has a Republican governor who applauded what Obama has done. Inhofe is one of the idiots destroying the Republican party but what the heck I'm not complaining.

    January 26, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  16. Mario

    Ranking member of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee and a global warming skeptic? Seems odd to me

    January 26, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  17. Joe

    This isn't rocket science. Car companies won't have 25 different standards to adhere to, they will adhere to the most rigid standard. This will ensure all cars meet the standards set and will allow the car companies economies of scale.

    January 26, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  18. adrienne

    Sometimes being from Oklahoma is beyond mortifying.

    January 26, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  19. bobbie

    you know, most of these old crusty barnacles need to go to the house & find their rocking chairs.. they've been in congress forever and have gotten nothing done; now they are fighting tooth & nail against a brilliant man whose trying to make a difference. Oh please spare me!!!

    January 26, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  20. IsaacTheForcedCatholic

    Law -"You cannot legislate perfection. California would literally be the last state where I would want to start a business."

    I hope you keep your word because we Californians don't want to do business with loony individuals like yourself. Don't watch movies made in Hollywood, eat food made in Cali, or vacation in Cali. But I know you won’t keep your word because out-dated right-wingers like yourself can’t keep your word because we all know you are all hypocrites. Please do USA a favor and move to another country that has your crazy views... like Alaska.

    January 26, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  21. SC

    With your provincial mind, do you mean we will see terrorists on a street corner if those 14 states have their own emission regulations?

    January 26, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  22. vincent - phoenix

    Obama MUST be doing someing right...

    i haven't heard the repiglicans squeal like this since election night!

    MMMMMmmmmmmmm music to my ears!

    January 26, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  23. Amber

    Not a surprise.

    With how much money Big Oil puts into Inhoffe's pockets you'd better bet he's scared of these environmental "thugs".

    "Thugs" like 1 in 6 Americans who live in California...

    January 26, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  24. Brian

    The states already have the power to set environmental rules and regulations stricter than those mandated by the Federal government. Bush blocked this one to protect his cronies in the auto and oil industries. The message is clear to the "Big 3": clean up your act or die like the dinosaurs. The Japanese manufacturers already meet these standards.

    Speaking of dinosaurs, Inhofe is a very hypocritical one, as he campaigned last fall opposing government bailouts.

    Brian in OK

    January 26, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  25. johnny

    What the H is this man, a "longtime global warming skeptic", doing on the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee? Only an idiot denies the scientific studies. I think someone's just not getting it here. Keep it up, and you will continue to drag the party down.

    January 26, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
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