Earth Shakers: The Counter-Enviro Power List

Rush Limbaugh: Radio Host

May 1, 2005
Outside Magazine

The most popular radio talker in history, Limbaugh, 54, has transformed the sound of public discourse in America, giving powerful voice to the nation's conservative movement while immeasurably shaping and strengthening it. In Limbaugh's opinion—which reaches 20 million listeners on nearly 600 radio stations every week—"unfettered free enterprise" can solve global problems, many of which are caused by liberals, Democrats, "the Birkenstock crowd," and "environmental wackos."

The Missouri native describes human-induced ozone-destruction theories as drivel perpetrated by "dunderheaded alarmists and prophets of doom." On the air, in speeches, and in two best-selling books, he also argues that secondhand cigarette smoke is not a big health risk, insists that volcanoes do more harm to the ozone layer than mankind does, and says that nature is not fragile—and humans are incapable of destroying it. "I don't believe it, because I believe in God, and I don't believe we have this kind of power," he explained in a January broadcast. Echoing those sentiments, presumably, are the legions of "dittoheads" who embrace Limbaugh's views.

SOUND BITE: "Science may end up proving George W. Bush to be one of the greatest environmental heroes in world history," Limbaugh said in a 2005 broadcast. "We are not destroying the earth, my friends... The United States is saving it."

NEXT UP: Limbaugh's contract with Premiere Radio Networks runs through 2009. After the past four years, a period in which he survived an addiction to prescription painkillers and a third divorce, Limbaugh appears unsinkable. "I've always said I'm never going to retire," he once declared, "until every American agrees with me."

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