A Senator’s Lake House vs. a Town Fighting Flooding

Aug 27, 2019 · 305 comments
Marilyn (Nashville, TN)
The actual name of the Oklahoma lake is Grand Lake o' the Cherokees. Perhaps the Corps of Engineers should ask their advice rather than the Senator's.
Will Friedman (Atlanta)
Mr. Imoff is part of international organization dedicated dedicated to spreading the absolute authority of Jesus Christ throughout the world. Evil man an elitist . Miami Lives Matter
Yankee Fan (NYC)
"Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Jay Stark (Albion, MI)
How much more selfish can a political critter get? He at least ought to get one of his Senate cronies to sponsor it so it would more easily pass the sniff test. ("Oh, that one's gone bad, hadn't it?") Oklahoma, the state in which I became about as mature as I guess I'm gonna be, needs somebody like Molly Ivins. Or, somebody could channel its favorite son, Will Rogers. He said, "When Congress passes a law, it's a joke. When it passes a joke, it's the law." I think Inhofe must be channeling Huey Long. Here's a bet for you: nothing much will come of this, unless the members of the House grow a spine and reject that provision. After all, if the president can enrich himself through the presidency, why can't the senator?
Jay E. Simkin (Nashua, NH)
@Jay Stark This isn't about "enrichment". Having a lake with a water level a couple of feet higher than it should be, doesn't enrich anyone. This is about those, in public office, abusing that office for their personal pleasure. This is no different than a public office-holder, who rejects an application, because s/he dislikes an applicant. American public officer-holders used to be reliably law-abiding. So, few U.S. laws set penalties for public officials, who are negligent or outright criminal. "Catch-all" laws - e.g., theft of honest service statutes - sufficed to deal with those, who abused their public office. Now, a licensor who revokes a license without cause can do so, because few licensing laws crimininalize an unlawful revocation, even though reversing that revocation can cost many tens of thousands of dollars. This is why any "red flag" law - intended to keep firearms from one deemed a danger - must provide for payment from public funds of an accused person's attorney's costs and fees. Few can afford to spend tens of thousands to protect their good name. A State has bottomless pockets. In short, abusive or criminal public officials are a big problem. New laws are needed to give recourse to an average person. Now, only those with deep-pockets have recourse against abusive or criminal public officials. We need to add criminal penalties to laws governing public officials' behavior and to create a right of private prosecution, if a prosecutor won't take action.
Ma (Atl)
This Senator claims his amendment is 'just good policy.' Nonsense! He is putting people at risk for recreation. Unreal. If they need high waters, they can tax themselves to create enough money to build a solution - e.g. reservoir.
Jay E. Simkin (Nashua, NH)
It does not matter why water levels rise. If regional rainfall data show rises in annual rainfall totals, that is reason enough for those, who manage the dam, to takes steps to expand the lake's capacity to absorb rainwater surges. They should lower the lake's level, so that a surge of rainwater run-off does not cause regional flooding. Were there no dam, the water would flow "down-stream". Dams are built to control floods, not to promote floods. Sen. Inhofe is in error to claim otherwise. Lowering the lake by a couple of feet isn't likely to diminish lake-side residents' use of the lake, but will help to prevent upstream flooding. It is an abuse of the legislative process to forbid rational water management, especially when that abuse puts lives at risk. In many countries, public affairs are in the hands of those negligent at best, and murderous at worst. Public officials, who put their personal agendas ahead of what's best for their constituents, betray public trust. If Sen. Inhofe wants so to conduct himself, he should master Spanish - if he does not command that language - and move to Honduras, Guatemala, or El Salvador. He'll do well in those countries, wherein those in charge of public affairs care little, if at all, about residents' well-being. Such lack of caring drives many to seek entry to the U.S. By contrast, we don't see hordes of Costa Ricans seeking entry into the U.S. Costa Rica is run by folks, who reject Sen. Inhofe's wrong-headed approach.
DON M. BOILEAU (Reston, VA 20190)
It might be in the letters, but I was wondering what happens when a storm is predicted and the authorities start lowering the level of the lake. What does 1 foot lowering do for drainage? or 2 feet? or does it take 10 feet to protect the area upriver. I am confident that the experts have answers to that as well as how long does it take to reduce the lake by 1 foot in depth?
lcr999 (ny)
I knew it as a republican thing without even reading the article
edward murphy (california)
Senator Inhofe is ignorant, abusive, and unfit to be in the US Senate.
frank monaco (Brooklyn NY)
Let's face it Money and Power is a terrible thing when used for ones own advantage. I know at todays economics 1 million in property is not what iit use to be, but to many people that is a sizeable amount. Most people that play by the rules and get squeezed in the end. Guys like Inhofe laugh all the way to the bank. Oklahoma voters need to vote Him out!
kjny (NewYork)
Gee. A Republican Senator introducing legislation that benefits himself and wealthy neighbors at the expense of his constituents. No surprise here. Trump and wealthy Congressional Republicans benefit from the GOP tax scam, that hurts working Americans. Congressional Republicans now want to cut Social Security and Medicare to pay for the tax cut that has rewarded wealthy Republicans and CEOs. GOP cabinet secretaries head agencies they wish to cripple, all the while doing away with regulations that benefit the public, but just happen to hamper their business donors. Trump makes millions of the presidency. The GOP is a self-serving bunch of crooks masquerading as a political party.
Walter Ingram (Western MD)
One would ask, why would Inhofe try to hide this in an Authorization Act? It seems more and more that our Representatives are self serving, with no regard or care to what their constituents think.
OldLiberal (South Carolina)
"The legislation is pending, and Senate and House representatives plan to negotiate a final bill in the coming weeks." Republicans are beyond redemption. I'll be interested in what House Democrats do. Hope there's a follow up on what happens with this bill.
Frolicsome (Southeastern US)
Blatant self-dealing. Trump has made it acceptable.
Jay E. Simkin (Nashua, NH)
@Frolicsome I suspect Mr. Inhofe's wrong-doing long antedates Trump. In the vast majority of countries, public business is managed by those negligent at best and murderous at worst. This sad state of affairs has prevailed for decades, if not centuries, i.e., long before Mr. Trump took office. As yourself why, in so many countries, those in public office ignore residents' needs or actually abuse residents, for the office-holder's benefit.
BixB (Oklahoma)
Jim Inhofe is a national laughingstock. He is ignorant, lazy, and un-engaged, yet he gets re-elected in OK based on name-recognition and the backing of the Oil and Gas lobby for which he is a primary senatorial water-carrier. When the article calls him an "institution" they are exactly right; he's like an old-time state mental hospital - outdated, useless, and in need of removal.
Jay Dunham (Tulsa)
@BixB: Inhofe will leave the Senate in a box. When one considers voters that consistently vote against their own interests, one is thinking of voters in Oklahoma. They do it cycle in and cycle out.
Jay E. Simkin (Nashua, NH)
@BixB You're 100% right about Sen. Inhofe but partly wrong about "state mental hospital". Because there are now few "state mental hospital(s)", many - who simply cannot look after themselves - are homeless. Free they may be, but they still suffer from exposure to high heat or deep cold. Further, of the myriad mentally ill, the wafer-thin violence-prone sub-set cannot be held because there's no place for them, unless they commit a serious crime. Even then, most prisons have few trained to deal with those whose brain chemistry makes them a threat to others. In short, when "state mental hospital(s)" were shut-down - based on the belief that "community care" was better and a desire to avoid abusive commitments to such places - we lost a resource. "Red flag" laws proposed to prevent mass murders are useless, if there's no place in which to confine someone, who cannot have access to weapons. At end-2016, there were some 402,000,000 firearms in the US (excl. military items). Thus, someone mentally ill and violent - an unusual mix - is going to get a firearm, just not from a Federally-licensed dealer. Those, who cannot be trusted to have firearms, cannot be left at liberty. But we have no places for such persons, unless and until they commit a crime.
Jennifer (Manhattan)
“But Mr. Inhofe — a top Republican who is known to swim and fly planes around the lake, where his family owns a vacation home — quietly introduced legislation in June that would hamstring that agency.” And he’ll probably run on “gettin’ the gummint offa our backs!” and patriotism, and being a defender of the little guy against the dread infestation by “them.” Will poor people across the country vote their own self-interest this time?
Castanea Sativa (USA)
Inhofe is already famous for inviting prominent deniers (most w/o the slightest scientific credential re: global warming and climate) to farcical congressional hearings, taxpayer funded phony publications and of course his very cute snowball caper. In the same spirit how about a dozen tank trucks loaded with water from his lake estate to flood the senate on a particularly hot day. What global warming? McConnell in swimsuit... so cool.
Don (Pennsylvania)
I have noticed that when a dam is built for flood control purposes, it creates a lake that is often used for recreation. When the Corps wants to lower the lake level for flood control purposes, the recreation interests fight them -- tooth and nail. The original purpose is lost. In other places, where the lake level can be lowered over the winter in anticipation of spring floods, there are complaints about the dust levels due to uncovered lake bottom. Can't win.
Joyce K (GA)
This brought to mind the refrain of an old song: It's the same the whole world over It's the poor what gets the blame It's the rich what gets the pleasure Ain't it all a bloomin' shame? Were it ever thus.
Jay Stark (Albion, MI)
@Joyce K And, do you remember the rich always got the best seats at the Roman Circuses? That still riles me. We never got good views of the animals going after the victims. Nowadays, though, we can see Congress Critters going after the poorer amongst us. About as fair, don't you think? Somebody better explain this to the Senator; he might not understand the comparison.
Mary (Missouri)
This is just the tip of the iceberg of the corruption and abuse of power in the state of Oklahoma. I grew up at Grand Lake, moved away at 19 and started writing there 6 years ago at age 40, to begin a writing portfolio. I was attacked, someone tried to break into my cabin, I was mistreated, threatened, I was lied about and essentially ran out of the area, because I found out that most of the powerful and rich allegedly use Grand Lake as a sexual playground. When I spoke up about being sent a message that I was sold to a rich couple that were going to blindfold me and beat me- it got really bad for me. I still have the message that the swinger sent me. It's all so weird there- you can't even make it up. Absolutely no boundaries here folks. If you're a swinger- this is your dream destination. The head of the GRDA has had sexual harassment issues that were settled and he is still in charge. There's so much more and it never gets reported, because people are afraid there. As for me? I left the area shaken up, never the same, but went on to write for the Kansas City Star, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and found a great community at Lake of the Ozarks who appreciates my writing and promoting their area. People still attack me on social media from Grand Lake- anonymously of course- but even on my Travelocity account about 2 months ago...and I've been gone from the area for over 3 years. Weird people. Weird state. Your best to stay away. Plus? Grand Lake isn't that nice. Lol.
Leslie Duval (New Jersey)
This is the Swamp. Didn't Inhofe side up with Don the Con to claim that they would get rid of it? Both Inhofe and Trump are just corrupt hot air ballons without any substance at all. Personal and financial self-interest from a senator using his authority to undermine the quality of life of his own constituents. I hope that the people of Oklahoma can find a much better senator.
mons (EU)
The US really doesn't have any laws against corruption.
Kathleen (Massachusetts)
If this situation does not rise to an ethical issue in the Senate (as someone in the article suggests), then we have a very serious problem! Inhofe has no business protecting his own interests at the expense of his upstream (and lower income) constituents.
William (Massachusetts)
Although it could be Democrats would do the same it has become increasingly more lopsided in the new Republican Party where only money rules.
Lisa (NYC)
@William As a Democrat and a Progressive I take fault in your accusation.
William (Massachusetts)
@Lisa I am a Warren Democrat because of that accusation,
Jon Harrison (Poultney, VT)
This should be a career-ending conflict of interest scandal, but of course Inhofe will survive and continue serving in the Senate. However, the Times story may be enough to derail the sweetheart legislation described here. And I thought the Trump-led GOP wanted to drain the swamp (not).
elizabeth (cambridge)
@Jon Harrison But the alligators are now in charge. Right?
JABarry (Maryland)
Is it really unreasonable that Senator Inhofe would use his privileged position in Congress to abuse Oklahoma constuents who are not members of his wealthy resort community? After all, he's a Republican isn't he?
Beth (Columbus OH)
I hope Americans start waking up to the power-grubbing corruption of our capitalist representatives. There is no longer an valor or honor in most of the Republican Party, and to some extent the moderate Democrats as well. we need to vote them all out and put in honest hard-working Americans who are intent on moving this country forward, versus their own selfish interests.
Jim (Syracuse, NY)
Based on a review of Google Earth, it looks like there is a dam within the City of Miami that should be removed and bridges over the river that are causing the river to back up during high flows. It seems like this is the starting point to address the issue.
Shelly (Commerce, Ok)
@Jim There is no dam in Miami.
JL22 (Georgia)
It must be nice to have wealth, a lake house, a plane. and a seat at the government table to be able to write your own laws to protect it all. The question is, will the people of Oklahoma vote him out?
Jay Dunham (Tulsa)
@JL22. No. Never. Not even close. As I observed earlier, he will leave the Senate in a box.
Pamela Katz (Oregon)
What does Inhofe's lake house have to do with National Defense? Congress can't get anything done except name post offices and use our tax dollars for their own, personal niches.
ARNP (Des Moines, IA)
He's concerned about "injuries from boat groundings"? I can picture the senator trying to come up with a "safety" argument to buttress his opposition to flood control. On the one hand, there's increasingly frequent flooding of the struggling town and outskirts, destroying homes and damaging property that many can't afford to repair. Roads get wrecked and mold fills buildings. On the other hand, lowering the water level to better accommodate flood water from upstream could--at least theoretically--result in some boat getting grounded in shallow water and some hapless person stubbing his toe on the grounded boat! Sure enough, you're dealing with a dreaded "boat grounding injury!" Rest assured, this amendment has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that maintaining high water levels on the lake is good for recreation, keeping lake front property values high.
Darren Thompson (San Diego)
Brings new meaning to “drain the swamp”, doesn’t it? This IS the swamp aka insider interests and influence in government. Period.
Pete in Downtown (back in town)
A Republican Senator ignoring the needs of poor constituents - unthinkable! Clearly fake news; a Republican Senator would always put the greater good over his own interests. I know that because Mitch McConnell says it's true.
JTW (Bainbridge Island, WA)
Not surprising that no one from Oklahoma has weighed in thus far. They elected him and will keep electing him.
Jay Dunham (Tulsa)
@JTW I beg your pardon? I've weighed in several times and will so continue. And, yes, they have and they will. He's called "Mountain Jim Inhofe" here. There is no better example of the uneducated voting against their own interests than Oklahoma and Inhofe. Ugh. I think this may have been one of the reasons my wife moved to..... Bainbridge Island.
BldrHouse (Boulder, CO)
Ross Baker, a distinguished professor of political science at Rutgers University, said , “the downside for him is more in terms of political embarrassment.” "Political embarrassment?" A senator who brings a snowball to the Senate as a way to disprove global warming obviously cannot be embarrassed by anything else he might do.
Moses (Eastern WA)
The US: home of the brave, land of the free, and legalized corruption.
Kathleen King (Virginia)
James Inhofe has, for his entire political "career," always acted only in his own interests and those of his "friends." I lived many years near Grand Lake, and yes, it does exaccerbate flooding upstream, just as the dams on the west side of Tulsa also do. They are maintained, as Inhofe freely admits here, to serve as recreation sinks for the wealthy not to control flood waters or as a source of hydro power. Given that the hydro functions of Grand Lake are diminishing, lets just remove Pensacola Dam and let the Grand/ Neosho River run free. Inhofe and his buddies can move elsewhere. If nothing else, there should be releases in anticipation of heavy rainfall and pass through for so long as flooding occurs upstream.
Andrew (Michigan)
Every single person who voted for Inhofe for office deserves this. Everyone else, sorry, but it's time to move.
John (Oklahoman)
I am a native Oklahoman. Inhofe is an embarrassment but he has the financial backing to be re-elected. You do not have to look far to find his financial backing. This is the same guy who landed his airplane on a runway that was clearly marked closed and just missing hitting workers on the runway. "I got over fifty years flying, three tours in Vietnam, 23,000 hours, I can assure you I have never seen such a reckless disregard for human life in my life," Marshall Reece, airport manager, said. Only time will relieve us of Inhofe. Send him an email about your concerns. His office will not respond with even a courtesy automated response.
Jim (Tulsa OK)
@John That last part is so true. I have sent Inhofe many emails and I think I only got a response once from his office in which he 'agreed with my position' (however, I actually argued the opposite, I emailed back saying such and never got a response). The offices of the other GOP representatives I have, who I disagree with regularly, are much more likely to at least show some courtesy of reading my message. Inhofe is the definition of a out of touch senator bought and paid for by wealthy interests, including the local media that hardly ever reports anything negative about the guy.
Grace (Corpus Christi, TX)
Why do republican office holders insist on flouting corruption with impunity in the face of their tax paying constituents?
Dheep' (Midgard)
Why ? Because they can ! There are no repercussions - politically, legally or otherwise. They do what they wish, and nowadays, they don't even bother to hide it. Total contempt for their fellow citizens. Exceptionalism indeed ...
Dave in Northridge (North Hollywood, CA)
I just finished watching Jeff Sharlet's "The Family" on Netflix. Senator Inhofe was very present it the documentary, so I just wonder, what does he think Jesus would think about his position on the water levels?
Victor Cook (Suffolk county N.Y.)
Read up a little on this guy and you’ll see another poster-child for GOP corruption and grifting, abusing his position for personal gain... this is a guy who landed his personal aircraft on an obviously closed runway under repair, almost killing several workers because he felt he had unlimited access to land wherever he wanted, then turned it around on the workers and berated them. Typical of republican mentality, he’s opposed to anything that’s inconvenient to himself, hampers his career, or decreases his profits... regardless of whether the people he is supposed to represent are put in harm’s way.
Nicky (San Jose, CA)
Sure is interesting that his wife's "company" owns a Lake House? Sounds like some tax dodging to me...keep looking into this. Excellent journalism, thank you NYT!!
NAS (New York)
This "local institution" needs to be voted out of office!
Craig (Briggs)
Yet another example of a GOP member catering to the wealthy and powerful at the expense of the less fortunate and powerless. His time will come - “ time wounds all heels”
marks (millburn)
A Republican in Washington using his official position for personal benefit? How unusual....
JB (Ca)
Does the Senate have an Ethics Committee, or is this just up to the voters of Oklahoma?
SimpleAnswer (North Carolina)
Maybe he should watch the film about the Johnstown (PA) flood of 1889.
Chris Wildman (Alaska)
Disgraceful. Almost as disgraceful as the time in 2018, when Inhofe bought thousands of dollars worth of stock in Raytheon after having successfully lobbied the Trump administration to increase military spending. Vote blue, OK!
mmelius (south dakota)
I was first to comment, and don't see it here. Some questions missing in this report that would help clear up everyone's confusion: Did Miami flood before the dam was built in 1940? From satellite photos, it's obvious the town hugs the river, which is asking for flooding. Also, it appears the lake's upper arms reach at least a mile from Miami. The reservoir can go only so high--as high as the dam is constructed for--so it's hard to see how the dam is having an effect on a city well upstream from its reservoir. Also, is the main thrust of Inhofe's amendment to have the Army Corps of Engineers have sole responsibility for the dam's management? If so, what evidence is there that such a change will hurt Miami? Given that "flood control" is one of the Corps' central missions, it might actually be better for the city to have only the Corps to deal with in the future.
Jim (Tulsa OK)
@mmelius Wrong, The water upstream of a lake will be higher than the dam, and higher because of the dam. Water flows downhill, but that isn't instantaneous. The higher the lake is, the slower the river there will flow, and the slower the river there flows, the more water there is in town to flood. This is hydrology/hydraulics 101 material (and I am speaking as a registered Professional civil Engineer)
Wilson Woods (NY)
@JimWhat? I totally agree with you, Jim! It's common sense, that every time a levee, or water in a lake, is raised in height, the flood water just runs onto some other guy's land, upstream or downstream, that does not have a raised levee!
PB (Pittsburgh)
I can just picture him tooling around on his lake with a maga hat on getting high fives and wild applauses from his millionaire neighbors.What I can't picture are the regular Americans a dozen miles north keep voting for him.
John Edelmann (Arlington, VA)
I believe they all voted for him.
Mary Lou (Broken Arrow, OK)
@John Edelmann I am an Oklahoman who has never supported Inhofe. Alas, I am a moderate democrat in the land of a Republican stronghold. It gets very depressing at times.
JSL (Norman OK)
@John Edelmann I have never voted for Senator Snowball, as he is known here, and never will. I am hoping the Democrats can come up with a good alternative in 2020. Inhofe’s corruption as well as his age should make him vulnerable. But remember-he has the unlimited support of the powerful oil and gas interests who run our state. Running it into the ground.
L. Hoberman (Boston)
Abuse of power, plain and simple.
Avatar (New York)
This is what’s wrong with politics. Greedy politicians feathering their own nests, putting their own welfare above that of their constituents. And you can bet that the people of Oklahoma will return him to the Senate and if indeed they do, then they will deserve what they get. I guess if you loved Pruitt, you gotta love Inhofe.
Barbara8101 (Philadelphia PA)
If you insist on electing Republicans, this is what you get. The citizens of Oklahoma should try voting blue. It might improve their lives.
Jay Dunham (Tulsa)
@Barbara8101: Every member of OK's Congressional delegation is R. Every official elected on a statewide basis, from the Governor on down, is R. They control the Governor's mansion and both state houses by overwhelming majorities. Vote Blue? Don't hold your breath, friends.
emm305 (SC)
Inhofe is a dedicated member of The Family/The Fellowship/C Street/National Prayer Breakfast power cult. Another example of just how hypocritical fundamentalist aka evangelical Christians can be.
libel (orlando)
Senator Inhofe unfortunately does not understand the destructive power of water . Inhofe Chairman of the SASC is wasting millions in disaster aid rebuilding Tyndall AFB that will be destroyed by the next hurricane at this basically10 feet above sea level sea level installation. http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2019/August%202019/Heres-How-USAF-Will-Spend-1B-in-Disaster-Aid.aspx
A Davis (Chicago, IL)
Senator Inhofe likes to style himself as a devout Christian, and a follower of Jesus. Matthew 25:40 seems about the right way to judge his actions. "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' Enhancing recreational boating while flooding the poor part of town? I'd say Inhofe is betraying both.
FerCry'nTears (EVERYWHERE)
How cute! Mr. Inhofe and his wife know nearly everyone on the lake. Since 1962! No mention of knowing anybody who lives in the town of Miami
JackFlanders (Seattle)
Inofre's attitudes and actions are completely in line with the other Republican self-styled "Christians" in government and their hypocritical supporters. The Christian values I was taught were kindness, honesty, sacrifice, compassion, respect, self-control, integrity, humility, justice, equality, and forgiveness. All I see in the Republicans in the Senate is greed, contempt, narcissism, arrogance, vengeance, cruelty, lust, dishonesty, corruption, selfishness, deceit, and injustice. How can any Christian with a functioning brain vote, against their own self interests, for these crooks who lack even a trace of Christian thought or behavior? I cannot understand it.
Bill Camarda (Ramsey, NJ)
I'd tell Oklahomans the same thing I'd tell Iowa farmers: When you reflexively reward Republicans even when they hurt you, they'll hurt you more. And more. And more. Until you notice and do something about it.
molnarb (us)
One sentence in the article says it all why this senator sticks his nose where it doesn't belong. A piece of lakefront property worth about a million dollars is owned by a company in HIS wife's name. Greed,greed, greed,
chickpea (Taipei, Taiwan)
Nothing new. He just got caught.
Wyn Achenbaum (Ardencroft, Delaware)
Johnstown, PA There's a saying that history doesn't repeat itself but it often rhymes.
Multimodalmama (The hub)
This is self-dealing at its worst.
Ferdie14 (metro ny)
Unsurprising from a global warming denier. If he's going to imperil the planet to prop up the fossil fool industry, you bet your life nothing and no one is going to stop him from enjoying his lake house. The greatest happiness for the fewest number seems is his prime directive.
Doctor Woo (Orange, NJ)
There really is no good reason not to lower the levels before and during a storm. As usual the selfish few dominate the many led by this foolish man. I hope voters remember.
jr (PSL Fl)
I love a free press.
bill (Seattle)
Inhofe is a nauseating embarrassment to America. Playing the coward's game of hiding self-serving legislation in a massive defense bill shows clearly he has no honor.
manfred marcus (Bolivia)
Mr. Inhofe is a disgraceful politician, corrupt to the core, and with glaring conflicts of interest. Shame on him, disregarding a plea for solidarity. This behavior is classic Trumpian, although Inhofe's corruption predates the current bully in-chief by decades.
Blackmamba (Il)
Oklahoma was very briefly Indian territory. Set aside by invading and occupying white European American Judeo-Christian colonizers and conquerors as a destination for the First Nations peoples whose lands and natural resources they had already stolen along with their lives. No Americans have ever had more of their lands,lives and natural resources stolen from them than brown First Nations human pioneers. They didn't call themselves Indians nor Americans. About 500+ unique ethnic sectarian nations have been subdued on concentration camps aka reservations. By every positive educational demographic health socioeconomic employment housing measure they are worse off than any other Americans. Senator Imhofe is owned by the special interests lobbyists who seek his action and inaction.
Mary A (Sunnyvale CA)
Criminal conflict of interest.
Kalkat (Venice, CA)
Floods can kill people. Lower water levels at million dollar vacation homes cannot. How did we get so asinine?
Andrew Porter (Brooklyn Heights)
And locals expect the notorious climate change denier to believe in extreme weather events? Don't hold your breath. Get your revenge the next time he's up for re-election.
CJ (Pinzone)
You shouldn't be in office to make your individual life richer or more comfortable! You should be there to be a public servant! Have they all gone made in Washington?! Enough with these SELFISH politicians! The bulk of them are Republican traitors but the GOP does not have exclusivity on doing nothing other than making yourself happy! Inhofe should resign or be impeached! Wake up Oklahoma!
RK (Denver)
Obviously Inhofe is misusing his authority in the Senate to benefit himself. But, it’s not just him vs the people of Miami. There are a lot of people who live and work on the lake. The real solution would be to build a dam above Miami to control flood water. See Truman and the Lake of the Ozarks. That would of course be incredibly expensive.
samp426 (Sarasota)
I’d like to say I’m shocked, but no more. The trough feeds lots of pigs, especially the upper-class ones.
richard wiesner (oregon)
The great American dam building period, if there was a river that had a suitable sight, dam it and we took it to heart. What was not to like? Electricity, flood control, irrigation, artificial reservoirs, real estate development, tourism, recreation and lots of money to be made drove the dynamic. The things and ways of life that were there before the dam disappeared with the rising reservoir. Environmental impacts were not high on the agenda but I'm sure the dam builders never suspected that humans would alter the climate in the span of 80 years in such a way that it would create problems like their having in Miami. If indeed the problems of Miami are caused by climate change, you would have to accept the science of climate change and how it could lead to Miami's problems. I get the feeling that Senator Inhofe is not on board with that concept.
John (Chicago USA)
Inhofe is a coward and disgraceful. He avoids the problem of the poor by tacking wording into a defense bill. This is what I expect from Republicans. Looking after themselves. Opportunities for others will not interfere with their charmed lives.
KC (Okla)
Scott Pruitt lives just up the road. You expected something different?
Gigi (Montclair, NJ)
Another disgusting, self-dealing opportunist posing as a politician. So where’s the story here?
grace thorsen (syosset, ny)
It seems like our democracy has been gamed at all levels..I am reminded of the Chinese exam to enter the bureaucratic classes..It was gamed, for so many years, and finally, the dam burst, it was just not a viable system anymore..I believe our government has reached this state, unfortunately at the same time when we most need to act collectively to fight climate change..
John Locke (Amesbury, MA)
“In a state that would be politically more competitive than Oklahoma, this could be trouble for Senator Inhofe,” he said. “But Senator Inhofe is a local institution.” People get the government they deserve.
MMJ (Oklahoma City, OK)
@John Locke Nobody "deserves" to be exploited for someone elses' pleasure. Think in terms of Epstein and seduction. How many believe that Inhofe will respect low income voters in the morning?
Stephen Merritt (Gainesville)
Federal land "shall not be considered a reservation"? Is this phrased in a way that could deny the legal existence of all tribal reservations? Either way, the Senator's conflict of interest in this matter is blatant. On the other hand, he has a major role model in that respect.
seattle expat (seattle)
This is fully consistent with the behavior of most elected officials, so we should not pretend to be surprised. The votes of a few small towns won't have much impact on Inhofe's re-election.
Mischa (AZ)
Inhofe is a powerful figure in an organization called the "Fellowship". The Fellowship has heavy political influence in both Dems and GOP. It is also very influential in the world, mostly using Christianity as a front but financed by tax payers' money. I just watched the Netflix documentary "The Family" and it does help connect the dots. He would likely be re-elected as he had been for decades.
Casey (New York, NY)
I once sat on the third floor of Senator Spector's beach house, and had a beer. He wasn't there, my friends had rented the lower floors. It was a lovely view of the Atlantic, in Long Beach NJ. I find it amazing that every time we visit, there are massive machines just offshore, pumping sand back to the land. Actually, I don't. The beer on his deck said it all. (he wasn't there)
ohio (Columbiana County, Ohio)
It is beyond belief the degree to which the Republican Party has degenerated. In the 1940’s through the 1970’s there were Republicans in the Senate indistinguishable from Democrats. There was true bipartisanship. No more.
David Lyon (Victoria, BC, Canada)
Welcome to politics in the Trump era. Seems as if someone deleted the expression “conflict of interest” from the GOP dictionary. This sort of thing should be a no-brainer. You do not use legislative power to deal with personal issues. EVER. We can only hope that the GOP contempt for democratic norms will come back to haunt them in 2020. For what it is worth, if a powerful politician tried something like that in Canada, there is a reasonable prospect they would face criminal charges. This is no time to sit on the fence. I believe that the majority of Americans understand that the present situation is not sustainable, and want to do something about it. You don’t have to join a political part, or go knocking on doors. All you have to do is contribute on one day in 2020, assuming you have not been disenfranchised by Moscow Mitch and his band of mercenaries. I know I am from Canada, so I don’t get to vote. However, the impact of the GOP shenanigans affects all of us. The world is far too interdependent to tolerate the present situation. GROT (Get Rid of Trump) Just sayin’
KB (Brewster,NY)
Like any other God fearing American, Senator Inhofe is simply trying to protect his investment in Grand Lake. The townspeople should be thankful he has taken such an interest in protecting his interest in the lake. After all, he labors day and night on behalf of the interests of the citizens Oklahoma, the least they can do is permit him to enjoy His lake without their interference. His proposed legislation will simplify the matter by giving him legal grounds to do as he pleases with, to, and at the lake. The citizens are spared having to waste their time making the lake a priority for themselves. The only thing the citizens of Oklahoma should really be doing is finding their own getaway location and enjoying the American Dream their President with Senator Inhofe are giving them.
Kris (South Dakota)
@KB Sarcasm? I hope.
Eric Schneide (Philadelphia)
Are you serious, or was this meant to be sarcastic? This is blatant corruption. In-house should have recused himself from this whole affair to avoid a conflict of interest. That’s what an ethical politician would do. But ethics are dead, particularly among Trump and his cronies. Shame on them, and shame on anyone willing to accept this kind of behavior.
jhanzel (Glenview)
Reminds me of the trips I took to Wisconsin with my parents 60 years ago. Went to a really nice lakefront home, but didn't know for years that I had seen poverty forced areas of the original owners of the land and the food and the environment, constrained to a space forced by invaders, driven by the alcohol they were paid with 100 years before. If Johnson and Johnson is responsible for their supply of opioids, then we have 160 years of criminals responsible for forcing our original founders into detention camps and depression and alcoholism and drugs and ....
ElectAClown-ExpectACircus (Around the next bend or so...)
Always, and I do mean always, first and foremost on Inhofe's agenda has forever been the defense and energy industries. He has been deep in the back pockets of those groups for years, insuring that his bills/votes were for the purpose of benefiting them (and himself), before anything and anyone else. After years of his loosely-called 'representation' of Oklahoma citizens I cannot say with any confidence that his constituents even appeared on his radar. He has also been known to be an extremely vindictive, selfish person, which was evident on more than one occasion during his lackluster service as Tulsa mayor. When Inhofe retires or is finally given the boot he so richly deserves, it will be a blessing for all of Oklahoma and its citizens he has ignored for years.
Marian (Kansas)
Grand Lake is a very very large lake with "fingers" that flow around small towns all over that area of NE OK. The photos shown are a tiny non-descript bit of what is the most popular summer playground for Tulsa's old and new money, many with huge summer homes, condos, and small yachts, dinner clubs, etc. It's sad for the locals but a great many political influencers support what Inhofe has done.
Omnibus (SF,NM)
@Marian Doesn't make it right.
Adam (Westchester)
When can we expect our senators and publicly elected officials to actually be concerned about their constituents? Is there some reason for disconnect or is all about money and self interest? Am I being rhetorical?
Tran Trong (Fairfax, VA)
@Adam When we hold them accountable? Right now, it's only partisan so don't expect anything.
SaviorObama (USA)
@Adam Try Democrats, and Save the Earth!
Not Again (Fly Over Country)
@Adam IMP, the blame for our elected officials’ disinterest in the “little guy” constituents can be left at the SCOTUS door. See Citizens United for further explanation.
AQBill (Sheffield, AL)
Although the consequences are not so dire, the parallels with the infamous Johnstown flood come to mind. Senator Inhofe has never been a favorite of mine but I trust that the State of Oklahoma will consider this ill-considered back-door legislation in mind at his next election.
FerCry'nTears (EVERYWHERE)
@AQBill Yes! That's the first thing I thought of
Bluebeliever (Austin)
@AQBill: No, sorry. He’ll get some humanitarian award, keys to all the cities, and reelected. This is Oklahoma we’re talking about.
Howard Kessler (Yarmouth, ME)
@AQBill. Dream on. It's Oklahoma. They have regular earthquakes now because of fracking. They are major contributors to global warming, which causes more severe storms in Oklahoma. What makes you think they are going to change their thinking?
Hugh G (OH)
Actions like this by politicians are what incites populist revolutions, some of which aren't very nice. They should have just titled the article "Let them eat cake"
Louis (Arizona)
Why is it that there were plenty of jobs at a B.F. Goodrich tire plant, but today most “get by” with factory work? Why doesn’t the tire plant qualify as a factory? I still think the actions of Senator Inhofe are self-motivated and I’m interested to see how his constituents vote in the next election.
Mal (Miami, OK)
@Louis There is no tire plant anymore. After it's closing the economy has never recovered and generally the City has pushed away possible investors, e.g. the Decades of Wheels built in Baxter Springs, KS, not Miami, where the investor lives!
Cristino Xirau (West Palm Beach, Fl.)
@Louis Considering the number of Republicans in office it would seem that many, if not most plain folk don't vote for what's best for them, Trump being a prime example.
Kate (Philadelphia)
Vote him out. Once again, the desires of the wealthy and politically powerful are more important than everyone else.
PaulB67 (Charlotte NC)
So if Senator Snowball is proud of his position keeping water levels high at Grand Lake, why does he sneak in an amendment to a defense appropriation bill that would prevent any action that might prevent flooding? This is a Republican modus operandi at the local, state and Federal level: they have no problem trying to hide their real intent on matters their constituents might have a problem with by hiding their actions in a veritable snowstorm of paper on completely irrelevant legislation. These profiles in courage (not) are eating away at the rule of law.
Arabella Dorth (San Francisco)
@PaulB67 Well said!
Billy from Brooklyn (Hudson Valley, NY)
The fact that other legislators in Washington will vote for his legislation goes to show that they watch out for each other and are in the same boat. We vote these people in, so we are getting what we deserve.
Laura (USA)
This country needs legislation that keeps politicians working for us and would lead to serious consequences for actions like this.
Bladefan (Flyover Country)
@Laura Dude gotta go! (Kamala Harris's slogan re: Trump; but it applies equally to Inhofe.)
JL22 (Georgia)
@Laura, The place to start is term limits so that the career politicians don't have the chance to get so comfortable.
Constance (California)
This appears to be a haves vs the have nots- the contentment of the waterfront property and business owners in the face of the Miami townspeople’s distress was telling. What is especially appalling is the lengths that a senator will go to protect their business interests, his property value, and the amount of good timing he can draw from that lake. It isn’t even about something like resource extraction, or lowering emissions standards. Rather, it’s about preserving the primacy of the guy on his boat over the homes, sacred lands, and livelihoods of others. This is a noxious combination of climate denial and class warfare, and I’m afraid we’re going to see more of it in the future
RationalThinker9 (United States)
99.9% of Republicans publicly deny that burning carbon based fossil fuels is causing climate change - but none more so than James Inhofe who is owned completely by the petroleum industry. One has to wonder what his descendants - who will deal with the worst of what is to come - will think of him.
Lyle Jokela (Northfield, Minnesota)
"With heavy rains this year, the city of Miami and local Native American tribes say they were again left to pay the price when floodwater clogged upstream, damaging their homes, businesses and ceremonial grounds." Unfortunately they probably don't have a snowballs chance in the Senate to get any relief from the flooding.
Daniel (Virginia)
Hmm, an entrenched political figure who has a conflict of interest and is known to deny environmental science. I unfortunately don't see this amounting to anything. He'll continue to easily be reelected
HapinOregon (Southwest Corner of Oregon)
" For years, the town has fought a losing battle against the wealthy community at the lake" One sentence is all that is needed. Money speaks to power, and power listens, and acts...
Elizabeth A (NYC)
"He has also taken a keen interest in Grand Lake, where records show that about $1 million in waterfront property belongs to a company in his wife’s name." Wonder why the property is held by a company and not by Inhofe or his wife. Could it be for...tax reasons? No doubt the company got some nice cuts in 2017. The GOP: do as I say, not as I do.
Hank (Charlotte)
@Elizabeth A It is undoubtedly to keep the ownership off his financial disclosure forms and to let him say, without perjuring himself, that he doesn't own property on that lake. Here's betting Mrs. Inhofe has quite a few other holdings.
kevin carey (california)
Inhofe is a climate change denier and as this article shows just interested in the lives and recreation of other wealthy folks like him who have homes or businesses around the lake. The senator is the type of Republican politician who is only interested in the status quo for the top 10% of the citizens in his state and the country. He is a relic of past times and needs to be voted out of office.
Age Quake (Minneapolis)
@kevin carey And yet he will most likely be re-elected if he runs. He's been bought and paid for like most of our politicians.
Patricia Ledbetter (Heber City,Utah)
This is the result of a Congress filled with rich people who do not reflect the people they are supposed to represent.Surely this is an ethics violation.
Cristino Xirau (West Palm Beach, Fl.)
@Patricia Ledbette This is America the greatest land on earth where the rich and the powerful play and the deer and the antelope go the way of the dinosaurs.
Peter Bromley (Toronto)
Jesus would not approve. (Reference: The revealing Netflix documentary, The Family. Important viewing to see a secret society's vast influence on domestic and global politics under the pretense of advancing the words of Jesus. Mr. Inhofe is one of the many key players. Deeply troubling).
mmelius (south dakota)
Some questions that went unasked in this report: Did Miami flood before the dam was built in 1940? Looking at satellite images, it's obvious that the city hugs the Neosho River (which is apparently unnamed here). That's asking for flooding, unless they've built a high sturdy levee. And the upper reaches of Grand Lake appear to extend no closer than a mile from the city. If the river bottom there were being regularly flooded by the lake, it would be obvious--I'm familiar with such scenes from dams on the Missouri River in SD. Also, if the main thrust of Inhofe's amendment is to give the Army Corps the sole responsibility for lake levels, why would that change the situation in Miami? One of the Corps' main missions is "flood control," so if the lake is causing flooding in Miami, having that one federal agency in control of the dam might actually offer hope to the people there.
Mal (Miami, OK)
@mmelius I asked this same question of about a dozen or so old-timers. They said no, before the dam the flooding was not as bad and in fact they were warned to move the city farther upstream. The fairgrounds and many homes from abo.1915-1940 were built and did not start to flood until after the dame was built. https://www.miamiok.com/article/20130922/news/309229939 And unfortunately, I think the Corps is uh, paid for. "During the 1990s both the Corps and GRDA publicly denied the backwater effect on flooding from the Pensacola Project to Ottawa County."
Mike S. (Eugene, OR)
Not only does Inhofe not believe in climate change, as the effects are hitting his state, he is being certain the $1 million property in his wife's name is well taken care of. Rich people have lakeside property and nice toys. Those downstream, who are poorer, get periodic lakes called flooding. Wonder what Jesus would have said.
Bill (NW Outpost)
@Mike S.- Upstream in this case
FerCry'nTears (EVERYWHERE)
@Mike S. I like to think that Jesus would have walked on that lake. My mother's family homesteaded in Oklahoma; lost the ranch in the depression. Of my relatives who still live there it's all about the Southern Baptist church and their guns. While they would think it's a shame about this flooding they wouldn't really care. They get a lot of tornadoes too. It's all Gods plan for us to suffer here on Earth (I don't get why) so the World can end and the Rapture can happen
DeAnnG (Boston)
Clearly Inhofe’s pleasure boating experience is a higher priority than saving these family homes. Much better to ruin these families’ financial futures. I grew up in NE Oklahoma, and have been through home floods on Houston. FEMA insurance will cost these families $2K annually after after a flood event. FEMA only pays out at depreciated value, not replacement value. The families have to come up with the rest to repair. FEMA won’t reinsure after 2-3 flood events, and can refuse to let you rebuild. That doesn’t let you off the hook with your mortgage company. Any flooding event has to be disclosed in any house sale, so your property value drops immediately with the first flood event What Inhofe is doing not only forces these families from their homes, it destroys their long term financial future.
Brynie (NYC)
One would think the Corps would be more concerned about flooding, than the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.??
Mal (Miami, OK)
@Brynie "During the 1990s both the Corps and GRDA publicly denied the backwater effect on flooding from the Pensacola Project to Ottawa County." https://www.miamiok.com/article/20130922/news/309229939 Think the Corps is no quite independent.
JWinder (New Jersey)
“Kay and I have been going to our place at Grand Lake since we built it in 1962,” Mr. Inhofe said, referring to his wife. “We know nearly everyone in the community and everywhere we go we hear about the need to maintain the lake for its primary purposes of flood control, power generation and recreation.” I wonder how well he knows all the people in the town of Miami? Has he heard a slightly different version from them of how the lake needs to be obtained? Inhofe is a poster boy for narrow minded self interest; I’m sure those people don’t serve his interests, so he can’t hear them. He never fails to disgust to a degree well beyond the average republican senator.
Ann (California)
"(Sen. Inhofe) has also taken a keen interest in Grand Lake, where records show that about $1 million in waterfront property belongs to a company in his wife’s name." Apparently Sen. Inhofe's recreational playground is more important than the survival and livelihoods of surrounding communities and constituents. But at least he's keeping his priorities straight: wife rich and happy as well as nearby millionaire elites.
JW (Colorado)
@Ann And a handy tax dodge to boot!
Kimberly (Chicago)
We have here yet one more example of the standard-issue self-serving Republican. When will voters learn? Don't vote for these people, especially not repeatedly. Their priority is themselves.
DKM (NE Ohio)
Typical use of one's position to twist the "law" into something advantageous for a few people at the peril and risk of many others. Congress itself should look into Inhofe's tactics here. They are not ethical by any means, and I'd wager they are illegal. This is a classic example of why term limits are so very important. I was raised in Mississippi which has had more than its share of "local institution" politicians, and most of them were quite happy to do things for their rich, white friends. The point is, though, that the longer a person remains in Congress, the more and more and more power that person gains, and while one can paint a picture of how that is a positive thing, here is a perfect example of why it is not: because that power will be used to benefit a Congressperson's friends and/or pocketbook. Here we have both: he profits in all ways. I hope they vote him out next election, as they should.
jfdenver (Denver)
If he really thought this was best for his state, he would not have been sneaky about it--he would have done it openly. He knows this is wrong.
Mike S. (NYC)
Senator Inhofe, who is 84 years old, is up for re-election next year in 2020 and is currently unopposed by any other candidate. It will be interesting to see if this story blows up and affects the twilight of his career. As of this writing the NYT story has only been up for around 15 minutes, and as of yet there is no mention of it anywhere else in a Google News Search. According to a Tulsa World profile from April, "U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe won’t say whether he’ll seek a fifth full term in the U.S. Senate, but the money coming into his campaign fund may be talking for him. Inhofe, first elected to the Senate in a 1994 special election, took in $310,000 during the first three months of this year and is well ahead of the fund-raising pace of his 2013-14 reelection campaign... Inhofe had $887,000 in cash through March 31, but his campaign says he’s added another $170,000 since then. Most of the $310,000 came from out of state, and 60 percent was from political action committees." This is our political reality in the present day. It will be interesting to see if local voter concerns and blatant greed can derail the modern political machine.
Liz Donnelly (Oklahoma City)
You make an excellent observation. I read the local Oklahoma City newspaper everyday. This is just one of many stories about Republicans that will never be published. But... the Daily Oklahoman loves to throw darts at Kendra Horn, the only Democratic and female in the delegation.
Mal (Miami, OK)
@Mike S. Rich people seem to keep rich people in office.
John Grillo (Edgewater, MD)
Great reporting, Ms. Vervosh. I hope, probably like many of your readers, that you continue with this developing expose. You have to wonder how many times in his political career the strident climate change denier Inhofe has taken just the opposite position when the issue did not involve his own real estate, even in Oklahoma.
pointofdiscovery (The heartland)
Fine. Let the lake residents pay the costs of the flooding.
Kayemtee (Saratoga, New York)
If the President can invite the G-7 to hold their next meeting at his hotel in Miami, it’s not a stretch for the Senator to slip an attachment to the defense bill to secure the value of his lakeside property. We get the government we deserve.
Steve (Seattle)
In a classic struggle between the haves and the have not my what a surprise a Republican acting in his own self interest as well will side solely with the haves.
When will the good people of Oklahoma wake up and realize that they voted against their own interests when they elected Inhofe - who only ever has cared about himself, his rich friends and his corporate sponsors in the fossil fuels industry - and he will exploit and injure any other citizens as he sees fit to preserve his prerogatives?
Adam (MS)
No one who has followed Senator Inhofe's career could be surprised by his intervention. Congratulations to the people of Oklahoma for getting the representation they want and deserve.
John (Brooklyn)
My question would be to the Army Corp of Engineers, “Can you predict how much rain will fall into this river basin in 10 years”, or “When will climate change longer term forecasting?”
Mr. Adams (Texas)
There's no doubt Sen. Inhofe is self-interested and ignorant in his policy positions, but it sounds to me like some research is needed. Neither side seems to have conclusive proof that the lake level is causing floods or not. A smart legislator would have asked, can we determine the causes of flooding and, using our findings, take measures to reduce risk? Unfortunately, it sounds like Sen. Inhofe has more important things on his mind, like boating and fishing.
This is why we need journalists and investigative reporters. If only the public still cared about political corruption. This sneaky self-serving amendment in an otherwise completely unrelated appropriations bill will end up costing the tax payers way more than the value of the Senator's property in law suits, not to mention flood relief for those impacted. The Senator doesn't care... he and his donors get to have their idyllic summer on the lake. If I was the Mayor of Miami, I'd get as many of my 13,000 residents set up their protest right across the street from the Senator's house. No Justice, No Peace!
Hal S (Earth)
Hopefully the voters of Oklahoma will understand that they if they get in the way of anything that Inhofe and his 'elite' supporters want they will suffer as well. I got out of Oklahoma because I got tired of these games. They occur everywhere, but are worse in there.
Oliver (Planet Earth)
Is anyone reading this surprised? You get the government you vote for. I’m getting tired of saying it but I’m hoping that if enough people repeat it then more Americans will take voting seriously.
Bluebeliever (Austin)
Of course Inhofe is trying to obscure his financial interests in Grand Lake, since their waterfront property is in his wife’s name, while he uses his political influence to block the rights and safety of the “little people.” This isn’t a big ethical deal because everyone knows Oklahoma is and always has been famous for sleight-of-hand politics. Oklahoma is Trump country. Need I say more? I was born in Oklahoma but not yesterday.
Jay E. Simkin (Nashua, NH)
It does not matter why water levels rise. If regional rainfall data show rises in annual rainfall totals, that is reason enough for those, who manage the dam, to takes steps to expand the lake's capacity to absorb rainwater surges. They should lower the lake's level, so that a surge of rainwater run-off does not cause regional flooding. Were there no dam, the water would flow "down-stream". Dams are built to control floods, not to promote floods. Sen. Inhofe is in error to claim otherwise. Lowering the lake by a couple of feet isn't likely to diminish lake-side residents' use of the lake, but will help to prevent upstream flooding. It is an abuse of the legislative process to forbid rational water management, especially when that abuse puts lives at risk. In many countries, public affairs are in the hands of those negligent at best, and murderous at worst. Public officials, who put their personal agendas ahead of what's best for their constituents, betray public trust. If Sen. Inhofe wants so to conduct himself, he should master Spanish - if he does not command that language - and move to Honduras, Guatemala, or El Salvador. He'll do well in those countries, wherein those in charge of public affairs care little, if at all, about residents' well-being. Such lack of caring drives many to seek entry to the U.S. By contrast, we don't see hordes of Costa Ricans seeking entry into the U.S. Costa Rica is run by folks, who reject Sen. Inhofe's wrong-headed approach.
Karl (New Jersey)
Ross Baker may think Senator James Inhofe is an institution in the great state of Oklahoma but he is an institutional embarrassment to the intelligent and educated little guy in Oklahoma, the country or native peoples who have had a long history of being taken advantage of by people just like the self serving Senator Inhofe.
Tony (Truro, MA.)
We had a similar problem on Cape Cod. Cape Wind was trying to build wind turbines offshore and was fought against wealthy home owners on the Sound including Ted Kennedy and Warner from Virginia.
gcinnamon (Corvallis, OR)
In Oklahoma, as in other red states and in GOP constituencies like farmers and manufacturing workers, voters are finding out that their republican representatives and senators have taken advantage of their entrenched, gerrymandered status to enrich themselves and court out-of-state lobbyists. The Trump administration is chock full of these so called bedrock conservatives. When will these voters take these swamp things to the woodshed and vote them out of office? What does it take to finally stop voting against your interests? A senator going door-to-door and asking voters to tithe 10 percent of their salaries toward a campaign committee? One has to have faith that fellow Americans are not blind to the GOP corruption.
Casey (Philadelphia)
So convenient that Sen. Inhofe's $1M lakefront property is under the name of a corporation in his wife's name. Completely unethical of the Senator to maintain high lake levels at the expense of downstream constituents.
Mary (Pennsylvania)
Does anyone in public office believe in public service? Have we lost the concept that we, as individuals, and as a nation, need to look beyond our own personal well-being? I blame the GOP because, thanks to them, the second place loser in the WH has set a tone of greed and selfishness that has done breathtaking damage to our country. He won because of the outdated electoral college and some fancy gerrymandering, and has never even tried to represent the majority of Americans.
moschlaw (Hackensack, NJ)
May I suggest to Mayor Schultz and representatives of the nine Indian tribes that they contact the House conferees on the National Defense Authorization bill and urge them to oppose the Imhofe amendment.
Larry Heimendinger (WA)
It proves once again voters get the politicians they deserve for incurious voting habits.
Seriously (East Lansing Mi)
The pitcher is going to be throwing strikes all day long. You all tired of winning yet?
Susan Jones (Fl)
Reminds me of the book The woman in the Photo about the Jamestown flood in Pennsylvania Same story over a century ago. We should learn from history!
Mercedes (Townsley)
I'm a lifelong resident of Oklahoma. It's no surprise that Native Americans land and rights are skewered and lit aflame. It's entirely ridiculous to see older generation affluent politicians take a sharp jab of their powerful elbow to Tribal lands. Always a slow crawl toward justice in Oklahoma. However, now that freedom of speech is the strongest in the young tribal members; maybe the old way of politics has met its match. But, the generation who grew up during the last several decades have ingrained, a psychological approach that is called, "racism". The young are not tolerant of such antiquated business rationales. We may see change quickly. If our Native Youth have been rightly taught the Wisdom that supercedes such negativity. Get education as a foot to the throat of long past rigid attitudes. The education of today, will squelch the speech of hate. It's our only promise of a New Day. God will not suffer the Native community to suffer this yolk of disease for long. Our Youth is the answer. In any culture and society. So we should remember to protect our future within the Youth. Empower them and support them to not fix our mistakes but to create their own future, different.
Pete (USA)
Imhofe? Isn't he the political hack who took a snowball into the Senate chamber as evidence that global warming is a hoax? It can hardly be surprising that a person who is willing to put that sorry level of integrity on display wouldn't hesitate to make it clear that he has no use for ethical behavior.
DB (Chapel Hill, NC)
What a shock! A so-called public servant working only for himself and his wealth constituents at the price of the poor. What political party does he belong to again?
Christopher (Portsmouth, NH)
Years ago, this may have been a story. Today, we have a President who violates the Emoluments Clause every day of his presidency, and who yesterday suggested that the G7 meet at his struggling resort in Florida for the next G& (and Putin) Summit. Keeping water levels in a lake so the lakefront property owners aren't materially harmed, even though poor folks upstream are being flooded with biblical regularity, seems pretty tame for today's GOP.
Walnut (Maine)
This is the same individual who declared that environmental issues are strictly in the hands of God.
james (Rochester, MN)
He is doing is job representing his constituency (himself)> Leave him alone.
Ed (Norwich, UK)
This is graft, is it not, unless he is exempt ?
Havadood (Ridgefield ct)
Another Republican working for the wealthy at the expense of the poor and working class. What a surprise
EG (Seattle)
It’s not obvious to me how the lake level causes flooding upstream, since the spillways presumably keep the level constant during a major storm, but then, I’m not a hydrologist. I’m surprised there’s so much resistance to a little pre-emptive draining when the dam manager is expecting a lot of water coming in, since it should only lower levels temporarily. Do other dams manage their water levels with forecasts in mind? And speaking of other dams, how would this change in FERC’s regulatory authority affect hundreds of other dams across the country? Will we be more vulnerable to breaches and floods elsewhere if they’re out of the picture?
Stephan (Seattle)
Nothing sums up the Senator better than this story, an entitled man willing to sacrifice the climate and others for his gain.
Lawrence Lackey (Raleigh, NC)
@Stephan the lake as the "swamp."
Michael Hall (Charlotte, NC)
Indeed, it shows his lack of character.
Anna T. (New York City)
Senator Inhofe's actions on this issue are public corruption 101. No other way to describe it. No wonder he is one of Trump's stronger supporters!
Ajvan1 (Montpelier)
Inhofe’s Senate tenure has been a textbook illustration of corruption and self-dealing. This is nothing new.
Joe (Queens)
Republicans has 2 sets of rules: one for themselves and another for everyone else.
Roses (Minnesota)
@Joe There is self-dealing and then there is Republican self-dealing, distinguished in fact as they are brazenly obvious, and they don't care that everyone knows it. My father is this senators age. I can't imagine reading about him in a national news publication in which he may be hurting people and property - my siblings and I would schedule an intervention.
Nan Socolow (West Palm Beach, FL)
Isn't it sad that Sen. James M. Inhofe, who owns vacation lakefront property worth $1M in Grand Lake OK, is a climate-change denier like President Trump? Isn't it incomprehensible that Sen. Imhofe, who has served as a respected OK Sen. for 25 years, and is now 84 years of age, doesn't recognize climate warming on Earth? Despite the vast Amazonian rain forests being burnt by Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro (who turned down $22 Million in aid from the G7 Leaders today), despite the climate-warming induced migrations of Central Americans to our southern border with Mexico, Sen. Inhofe isn't embarrassed to protect his personal OK lake real estate to the detriment of his constituents living upstream. Is it fair that Inhofe is not pro-Earth, though he is pro-Life?
Dr. O. Ralph Raymond (Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315)
@Nan Socolow In what sense has James Inhofe "served as a respected" senator? His career has been without relief contemptible. (Remember the snowball he brought to the Senate floor to as "proof" against global warming. Not only contemptible. Foolish as well. Who can respect anyone who does things like that?)
Bluebeliever (Austin)
@Nan Socolow: Respected? He has never been respected—just elected.
Nan Socolow (West Palm Beach, FL)
@Dr. O. Ralph Raymond It's raining here right now (and rains every day) and you're right as rain about Inhofe. He is contemptible, but respected by his G.O.P. cadre.
Guy (Brookline)
As usual in Trump's America, the wealthy reign supreme. Government is here to serve them first and foremost.
Neel Kumar (Silicon Valley)
Why am I not surprised? Jame Inhofe is all for states' rights and smaller government and all that but will play any trick to keep his position and his possessions.
Alan C Gregory (Mountain Home, Idaho)
Grand Lake is not a lake; it is a "fake" lake. A reservoir, in other words. It was created by damming a stream. So, welcome to the fake lake known as Grand Lake.
Simon (On A Plane)
In that regard very few lakes are real, but rather fake. Indeed, very, very few.
Kenarmy (Columbia, mo)
@Alan C Gregory And the relevance of this is?
Alan C Gregory (Mountain Home, Idaho)
@Kenarmy Free-flowing streams, across our land, have been destroyed in the service of creating fake lakes.
Mark (DC)
Good to know Snowball Inhofe knows the value of recreation via contact with nature. Too bad he's violently opposed to environmental value legislation for everyone on the planet except himself and his vacation home.
Dadof2 (NJ)
Perfect Republicanism: One selfish Senator, to protect his personal vacation home at its peak pleasure-generating, is totally happy to horribly disrupt the lives of 13,000 of his constituents, robbing them of their homes, their property and their safety. Of course, James Imhof claims to be "a dedicated Christian", too! Is it any wonder Trump has been embraced by them? As President he regularly disrupts the lives of thousands and even hundreds of thousands with his weekend trips to Mar-a-Lago when it's cooler and Bedminster, NJ (that's here, folks) all summer, just for him to play golf.
Seriously (East Lansing Mi)
The pitcher will be throwing strikes all day long. You all tired of winning yet? The rich rule the roast.
kay (new york)
Inhoffe's disregard for other people and selfishness in this matter is astonishing and disgusting. I hope someone challenges him in the next election and makes sure his constituents know about the harm his decision is causing for so many others.
JTW (Bainbridge Island, WA)
@kay A truly forlorn hope. It's Oklahoma, after all.
Bob (in Boston)
Flooding. What flooding? Can't see it from Mr. Inhofe's lakeside house.
Next Conservatism (United States)
Trickle-down in practice: truth is power, power truth, and woe not to the ones from whom the offense comes, but only to the ones in the path of the flood. Imhofe won't suffer "political embarrassment”. Donald Trump has inoculated the Republicans against ever feeling shame again for shameful acts. These elitists hiding behind legal niceties and shell companies should be expunged by their voters.
Heidi (Upstate, NY)
Senator Inhofe to the residents of Miami, enjoy your lake front property when the flood waters arrive. Don’t show up for Federal aid, odds are good a GOP Senator would vote against it.
Betsy Herring (Edmond, OK)
This sort of influence has always been part of Oklahoma politics and, so far, always will be. They are now in their glory days with their most bestest President ever. They now have the chance to do even more damage than allow earthquakes to threaten many rural and even suburbs in the OKC, Tulsa, area. Nothing was done on that either. Inhofe is the worst.
Bluebeliever (Austin)
@Betsy Herrin: “...most bestest President ever.” I hear you! I really ADMIRE your comment! Thanks. Spent some of my most bereft political years in Norman—probably the most liberal city in OK.
Hoon (Texas)
What? A staunch states’ rights conservative uses a federal bill to protect his own personal comfort and easy access to water ways from the comfort of his own home?? At the expense of his constituents and the local indigenous peoples?? I am shocked said Captain Renault......
Peninsula Pirate (Washington)
The rest of Oklahoma won't care at all about a small town and its Native Americans. Inhofe will win again. His bluster and connections will carry the day. Besides, he's a co-conspirator in the Trump Empire's criminal activities. Build a statue of him in Oklahoma City.
Tony (New York City)
@Peninsula Pirate The NYT exposed the old man for the crook that he is. Now it is up to us to get a challenger, use social media, camp outside of his gated community and do the rest. If we can elect AOC in NYC we can get rid of this crooked bigoted troll in Oklahoma. We know the facts and now we act.
ThinkingCdn (CAN)
Little wonder that people have lost faith in American democracy.
Victor Young (London)
Corruption works swimmingly if the elected officials are into it.
sjs (Bridgeport, CT)
A Republican? Gee, that's a surprise. I mean, its shocking, just shocking that that he would use his power and position to grab something for himself and let everyone suffer. Yup, a real man of the people. Vote in 2020.
Shelley (Nord)
Noblesse oblige. With money, you get honey. I could dredge up a few more cliches. But this man and his privilege is repulsive. He should be voted out of office. Since when does recreation outweigh health and safety?
Dr. Pangloss (Xanadu)
Reminds me of those drug PSA's in the 80s where the kid turns around and says "I learned it from you Dad!" Trump has been a stellar instructor...
Canewielder (US/UK)
Nothing to see hear, just your typical lawmaker using their power and influence for self interest projects, corruption, and unethical purposes. Just an average day in Washington DC.
JJu (Chicago)
Senator Inhofe needs to go. Massive abuse of power to protect his personal interests. He should be impeached.
Mike Pod (DE)
With every news story involving a Republican, we here at the research center have to constantly reorder the Worst Senators in History spreadsheet.
Kristine (Illinois)
Sounds unethical if not criminal.
Boethius (Corpus Christi, Texas)
I’m very sorry for the Native Americans of Oklahoma. The “Killers of the Flower Moon” have not been vanquished, even after a 100 years. It’s discouraging.
Virgil Starkwell (New York)
This swamp in OK fights a different kind of swamp in DC for its life and loses, of course.
Mark (Buffalo)
So it seems even a dam can be an instrument of injustice, apparently abetted by a self-interested thumb on the scale here. I respect the public interest in a recreational resource like this, but of course dams have huge environmental consequences and can benefit one property owner to the detriment of another. This has become an issue in the Great Lakes as well, especially Lake Ontario. It is very difficult to balance the interests of different property owners, all of whom should be given due process in the public debate.
LIChef (East Coast)
Gee, a Republican in Congress who engages in self-dealing. What a revelation!
Lou Good (Page, AZ)
Trying to think of the last time an elected official from Oklahoma was embarrassed about anything they've ever done. Thinking, thinking.... Nope.
AT (Northernmost Appalachia)
More shameful behavior from a Republican member of Congress. When will peope wake up?
D (Pittsburgh)
American logic of 2019 dictates that a few rich white people wanting to boat on a lake should trump the rights of 13,000 poor (and browner) people living downstream.
Rick (StL)
Who said the system was rigged?
Ican’tdrive55 (Washington DC)
Of course Inhofe’s lake house neighbors support this legislation! “As long as I get mine who cares about the safety of everyone else” is now the prevailing ‘tude. Honestly, it’s beyond my comprehension how the climate-denying clown is still a senator of OK.
Padfoot (Portland, OR)
We finally hit the literal definition of “drain the swamp”.
b fagan (chicago)
“Kay and I have been going to our place at Grand Lake since we built it in 1962,” Mr. Inhofe said, referring to his wife. “We know nearly everyone in the community and everywhere we go we hear about the need to maintain the lake for its primary purposes of flood control, power generation and recreation.” "Everywhere you go" obviously doesn't include the poor people upstream, since you don't allow for flood control. Are you just trying to prepare poor people for the impacts of the climate changes you fight so hard to encourage? Look up the area online. Grand Lake o'the Cherokees is the result of the nearly mile-long dam impounding water of the Neosho River. Damming a river backs up water upstream. Upstream on the Neosho is Miami, Oklahoma. Extra credit if you look on maps - near Disney on Grand Lake is "Viagra Hill", no kidding. Extra credit for voters - since the Inhofe's built their vacation home on the backed-up Neosho River, the Northern Hemisphere land temperatures have been rising at a rate of about half a degree Fahrenheit per decade (0.29°C/decade = 0.52°F/decade). That increases heavy rainfall events and will increase flooding. https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/global/time-series/nhem/land/ann/7/1880-2019?trend=true&trend_base=10&begtrendyear=1962&endtrendyear=2019
Cwabhl (MN)
Not an honest one in the bunch, R's are showing us over and over again, who they really are, BELIEVE THEM!
BB (Washington State)
GOP narcissism once again. “ Ask not what you/I can do for our Country, ask what our Country can do for me “
Jerry (upstate NY)
Arrogance plain and simple. I wonder where he got it from?
JS (Minnetonka, MN)
Senator Snowball is too dim witted to understand this one in terms of cause and effect, so he will probably get a pass; somewhat like the difference between weather and climate.
Cazanoma (San Francisco)
Inhofe is an embarrassment to Oklahoma and the Senate.
Big G (Atlanta)
I thought republicans were all about draining the swamp of politicians acting in their own self interest. It's time to drain the lake!!
Independent American (USA)
Republicans vilify socialism when it comes to Democrats, but they love, love, love it when it comes to them being on the receiving end of it...
Plennie Wingo (Weinfelden, Switzerland)
Isn't he that moron who brought a snowball into the Senate to prove there was no global warming?
mattiaw (Floral Park)
They flood yet vote red. They are thirsty for more. They shall have more.
Nathan Hansard (Buchanan VA)
Yet another example of Party of Trump plutocrats punching down. Vote them out, all of them....and teach your kids to do likewise!
runaway (somewhere in the desert)
What an unsurprisingly reprehensible selfish human being. In the battle against climate change, the snowball tossing senator from Baja Kansas is a war criminal.
J.R.B. (Southwest AR)
Better yet, good folks of Miami, OK and surrounding area that continues to be flooded by this lake and dam, with Inhofe trying to tinker with the bill so he and his wealthy cronies will have plenty of water available for recreation at their million+ houses and yacht clubs, and other pastimes of the wealthy and well connected, while you have your homes and businesses flooded and destroyed, it is seriously time for the citizens negatively affected by the dam to join together in support of an opponent to Inhofe who will work for you and your interests. It's time to consider a new Senator and kick out the old one. Let him go play at the lake.
Lorraineanne Davis (Houston)
I thought trump was going to drain the swamp?????!!!!!
Ziggy (PDX)
Bad guy
Mike Iker (Mill Valley, CA)
Senator Inhofe, during debates about climate change, has already made it clear that he cares neither about his fellow citizens (or humans on a global scale) or for fact-based analysis. So why would anybody think he would take a different position in this instance, especially since he has a personal interest and property values at stake. But it does seem reasonable for his efforts to change the regulatory agency for his personal lake to be rejected. If FERC is good enough everywhere else, they are good enough in OK.
Mike S. (NYC)
He has written a book about climate change that further artuclates his arguments: "In 2012, Inhofe's 'The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future' was published by WorldNetDaily Books, presenting his global warming conspiracy theory. He said that, because "God's still up there", the "arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous." (from his Wikipedia entry)
Joe Skupien (Ringoes, New Jersey)
Not taking sides (although the temptation is strong). However, it should be very straightforward to determine through ground elevations and hydraulic computations and models whether the lake level contributes to flooding upstream in Miami. Would be surprised if it has not already been done, given the age of the problem. Find out what is real first and then decide who/what needs to change: the lake and it's level or the flood victims and their belief in the cause of their problem.
Tony (New York City)
@Joe Skupien Oh please this is not Newark NJ where stupidity is in charge of the lead in the water saga. The NYT interviewed numerous experts for this story otherwise they would not of published it.. The senator is crooked and knowingly has destroyed other communities. Just like that fool in Brazil wants an apology before he will do anything about the Amazon burning. Stop looking for anything reasonable with these people its all about ego and nothing more. Rulers of the universe is how they view themselves.
Steve Ell (Burlington VT)
WOW! This is right up there on trump-level corruption. He has failed his constituents. He has disregarded his oath of office. He should be censured, stripped of his positions on committees. He should resign in disgrace.
Caded (Sunny Side of the Bay)
@Steve Ell He's a republican -- what do you expect?
Drew (Maryland)
This is why they don't care about the emoluments clause for the president. They all do their dirty little tricks to benefit themselves.
rosa (ca)
Yesterday Trump was inviting next year's G-7 to his failing Doral Golf Course in Florida. Doral has lost 68% of it's profits just since Trump has taken the office. The last we heard of it, Don Jr. was trying to get a "fund-raiser" going, using strippers from another club to push for some young boy's basketball group. Right. Obviously, the President of the United States has never heard of the "Emoluments Clause", that little piece in the Constitution that forbids a President to profit from their holdings. And someone needs to read it to him, right? Question: But does that "Emoluments Clause" only apply to the President or does it also apply to Senators? I get it: You have a "summer home", you have a boat, you want to buzz around on the lake with your special boat that you really, REALLY like - and you can't if the water is too low. And, yeah, you really REALLY understand about that flooding of homes upstream, yeah, water to the roof-tops, have to tear them down, yada, yada, yada..... But, gosh... the boat! And now THE SENATOR has decided that his MILLION DOLLAR PROPERTY (in his wife's name!) needs him to use his position and influence to keep that boat afloat! Abuse of power. Indifference to voter's needs. Rigging the game even more. Got it? Inhofe doesn't care about people's homes, YOUR HOMES! Neither does Trump. An "institution"? There are only 14 more months until Oklahoma gets to vote at least one of these greedy turkeys out. I suggest you get right on that.
Pillai (St.Louis, MO)
Well, it is time for dinosaurs like Inhofe to go away. Hope the good folks of Oklahoma knows what to do, and bring in some intelligent life to represent them in the Senate.
KC (Okla)
@Pillai You mean like James Lankford?
Jill (Oklahoma)
@Pillai - Unfortunately they won't. As long as this fossil runs for office, Oklahomans will vote him in. Oklahoma is the reddest state in the union. Of course the well off will vote for him and the not so well off - they don't know any better. They are wearing their overalls, spitting chewing tobacco, carrying their guns, going to church on Sunday and getting divorced on Monday.
Doug (Illinois)
Money any influence rule the day. Another example of the little people getting the dirty end of the stick.
Tim (Winnipeg)
Drain the swamp. In front of Inhofe's property on Grand Lake.
JEM (Ashland)
Time for these selfish dishonest politicians to go. Inhofe will only be remembered for the willful destruction he caused.
Tomás (CDMX)
It has been noted on more than one occasion that Inhofe is the dumbest of the nation’s 100 senators. And in a Senate well know for its current venality, this display of self-interest is right at the bottom as well.
Ben (DC)
This is completely consistent with Sen. Inhofe's behavior here in DC, where he's a neighbor. He's widely reputed to be the dimmist bulb in the Senate, but he certainly knows how to look out for himself. Lest we forget, disgraced former EPA chief Scott Pruitt--of private plane, $30,000 phone booth and Chick filet fame is an Inhofe protoge. Here in the neighborhood he contributes nothing to the community. The school kids have given up asking him to support the local PTA, scouting, etc. He doesn't wave or acknowledge neighbors. A completely self-absorbed homophobic anti-science troglodyte. We always thought he was just contemptuous of washingtonians. I guess it's good to know he treats Oklahomans with equal disdain. They need to stop returning him to the Senate.
W (Houston, TX)
@Ben Unfortunately, they won't stop returning him, because the (R) tribe always votes (R) no matter what.
Alberta Knorr (Massachusetts)
@ Ben Well said. You made me laugh.
Tony (New York City)
@Ben Where does he live, we can all find people who would enjoy ringing his doorbell and letting him know that he is a public servant not a god. We have always needed Term limits because they all are enriching themselves not listening to the people and think of themselves as gods . As if they are the only ones who think and the seat is there's for life. People please vote
S. Duff (Indianapolis)
So a rich white guy uses his political clout to protect and expand his wealth and the wealth of his white friends at the expense of the safety and economic security of local Native Americans and lower class non native Americans and he gets away with it? Shocked! I am just shocked! /s
Bitter Mouse (Oakland)
Good luck Miami! Good job NYT! Shine a little light.
KC (Okla)
@Bitter Mouse NYT should go back a few more years during the "drought" to check out the Inhofe "fire" story. You want to talk about protecting the institution of Inhofe.
Steve of Albany (Albany, NY)
"Since he was elected to the Senate in 1994, Mr. Inhofe has fought for less government regulation ..." unless of course, you want to use it for your own purpose - shame on you Senator ,,,
Brian (Savannah, GA)
A Republican senator climate change denier who uses his influence to protect his people as opposed to the people of the state of Oklahoma? I am shocked I tell you...shocked!
Michael W. Espy (Flint, MI)
Senator Inhospitable. A perfect match for Moscow Mitch. Talk about feeding off the Public Teat. Senator Global Warming is a Hoax. But we have to maintain those lake levels for that $1 million dollar property value that's in your wife's name. Could I put my property in your wife's name too?
signmeup (NYC)
What a "phony for the people!" When there is a conflict between your professional obligations (like your job to represent all the people) and your personal interests (like your $1 million in real estate on the lake) you abstain publicly, not push your own beneficial private agenda very quietly... But then again, this is Oklahoma and he is a REPUB...
Cheryl Wooley (LA)
He was my Senator for years. He's arrogant, bought and sold and a total fraud. I have never understood how he keeps getting elected.
HapinOregon (Southwest Corner of Oregon)
@Cheryl Wooley "I have never understood how he keeps getting elected." Inhofe is OK for OK...
Is "Drain the Swamp" an appropriate response?
SweePea (Rural)
"floodwater clogged upstream, damaging their homes, businesses and ceremonial grounds." Clear as mud.
Kevin O’Brien (Idaho)
Before even read more than the headline I knew it had to be a Republican.
Flip (Pretoria)
There is clearly a conflict of public interest, but safety comes before commercial interests. If they want the high water levels they should expropriate the flooded land, otherwise the dam operating rules should be changed to lower the water levels. It is normal practice. The expropriation is part of the cost of the dam project. Why wasn't this done when the dam was built?
Michael (Austin, TX)
Is this a "drain the swamp" moment for the state of Oklahoma?
Gumaeliusart (America)
Senator Inhofe your classism and disregard for your constituents is showing. I would suggest that Senator Inhofe does not care about anyone other than rich white people and their interests; if he did care for us poor people he would let the damn engineers and other experts decide appropriate water management policy that maximizes safety and minimizes flooding. Senator Inhofe you are unethical, elitist and lost in dissonance—you must be republican.
Gretchen (Plano, TX)
Well, there you have it folks. It not often you hear a sitting Senator admit that his wife’s property interests are more important to him than his constituents, and the loss of their homes. Native Americans are shown no regard or respect for their Sovereign Territory, and his concern about “injuries” is in direct proportion to any potential damage to his and Kay’s interests. Jim Inhofe is neck deep in the swamp, not only in Oklahoma but in DC as well. Oh, and non-profit agency, my behind. You’d have a hell of a time disentangling the number of hands in each other’s back pockets at the GRDA. His ignorance of all things scientific is legendary and calculated.
Teto123 (FL)
I don't know whether the dam is contributing to the flooding. But I do know that Sen. Inhofe could not care less if it is. This is what happens when people continue to vote for Republicans who deny science and care only about the interests of the wealthier among their constituents.
Bedroom (Closet)
What? A Republican Congressman doing only what’s best for himself and his family? Shame on those Miami residents for ever thinking that he’d come to their aid. Wake up, America. The Party of the Damned doesn’t give a “dam.”
Paul Thober (WA)
This article lacks the information as to whether the lake level actually affects flooding in Miami. Could the reporter not find a hydrologist without an agenda to weigh in?
Jerry (upstate NY)
@Paul Thober I don't think it's rocket science, excessive water, no matter what the source, has to go somewhere. Either it goes downstream, or it goes upstream. Since they won't open the dam to let it go downstream, guess what? Although I do find it amazing that they haven't tried opening the dam just once during heavy rain just to see what happens.
Lawrence Lackey (Raleigh, NC)
@Paul Thober Good idea, but come on man --- quietly changing rules to protect his property at the expense of others.
JJM (Brookline, MA)
In Senator Inhofe's defense, I don't believe he has ever described himself as a man of the people. Instead, he has been a consistent spokesman for the wealthy, the powerful and well-funded corporate interests. We can hope that Oklahomans not affected by flooding in the Grand Lake area will take note of Mr. Inhofe's publlic-be-damned attitude the next time he's on the ballot.
Kate (Philadelphia)
@JJM This is a defense?
Von Europa (Europe)
@JJM Don’t count on it. He stands a very good chance of being re-elected.
Paul Lebedoff (Ohio)
My heart goes out to the native Americans impacted by Inhofe's self dealing. To the white, poor working class republicans who voted for Inhofe, tough luck, suck it up, quit whining. You got what you voted for suckers.
LE. T (NY, NY)
this is just more of the GOP entitled application of their interests of a minority over that of the community at large. It should be looked into by the AG's office, but since he was hand picked for his noted bias towards "the stable genius" and his supporters, the environment/"Joe Lunchbox"/ original residents get screwed. It is plain partisan politics at it's ugliest.
Stephen (Ottawa)
Why not conduct an experiment? Lower the levels for three years and, all things then considered, determine whether or not there was a difference in the hardships suffered by the townsfolk.
Hans R. (Cape Town SA)
@Stephen Good idea. But how do you offset the lost fun in boating, fishing etc. against poor people's flood damages?
See also