Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani has all but declared himself a Republican presidential candidate by filing an official "statement of candidacy" and saying he is "in to win." In my new book, Eco-Freaks: Environmentalism Is Hazardous to Your Health, I reveal a surprising fact about Giuliani that so far has been little discussed in national coverage: Giuliani's record as New York mayor of standing up to green groups to take steps to promote prosperity and public health. In Eco-Freaks, I detail Giuliani's tough fight to spray pesticides to curb the spread of the newly-arrived West Nile virus in 1999.
In a section of Eco-Freaks entitled "Rudy Stands Up to the Greens," I write of Giuliani's actions when the virus first appeared in the U.S. in 1999 and was diagnosed in New York City as West Nile. Giuliani "ordered aggressive, but targeted spraying of pesticides in spots that mosquitoes were most likely to congregate. But environmentalists fought him all the way. They downplayed the very real risk of West Nile -- to humans and animals -- while hyping the risks of peticides." Even after being threatened with lawsuits, Giuliani persisted.
Giuliani's courageous actions may have prevented West Nile -- although still a serious virus that is made worse by continuing enviro campaigns against mosquito spraying -- from becoming a rapid bird-flu like pandemic in the U.S. after it first arrived in New York City. As I write in Eco-Freaks, although he didn't receive the glory for these actions as he did for those in 2001, "Giuliani displayed [in the West Nile crisis] the courageous leadership the nation would again observe in the days after the 9/11 attacks."
Giuliani has also made statements in support of nuclear energy and Arctic oil drilling. In the past, Giuliani has not been afraid to be seen as "environmentally incorrect" if he belives the policies he advocates are correct for the nation. If he continues this straight talk during the campaign, Americans may be attracted to another courageous side of Giuliani.