Inhofe accused of intimidating Clear Skies naysayers

Crossing Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) is a risky prospect these days. A representative of two national pollution-control groups recently spoke out against the Bush administration’s embattled Clear Skies bill in testimony before a subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee. (The 18-member committee, chaired by Inhofe, is currently deadlocked over whether to send the bill to the Senate floor.) Ten days later, Inhofe asked the groups, which represent state and local air-pollution agencies, to fork over their financial and tax records. Andrew Wheeler, the committee’s majority staff director, said the request has nothing to do with the testimony. “If we wanted to intimidate them, we would have done it before they testified, not after,” he said. But Dems don’t buy it. Said Rep. Henry A. Waxman (Calif.), “This is a blatant attempt at intimidation and bullying so that experts will be afraid to speak out about a bill that rolls back air-pollution protections for all Americans.”