Perhaps the biggest ramification of the U.S. House switching to Republican control is the change in leadership of committee posts. Politico is reporting that following his re-election, U.S. Rep. John Shimkus is making a play for chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. This is the same Illinois congressman who called the cap-and-trade legislation that passed the House last year "the largest assault on democracy and freedom in this country that I’ve ever experienced," so the development is a disturbing one. Given his power play, it's worth refreshing our collective memory about his history of idiotic statements on energy issues.
During a discussion at a hearing about the Environmental Protection Agency's ruling that greenhouse gases threaten public health and the environment, Shimkus noted that carbon dioxide is a natural result of breathing and asked, "Does EPA propose we stop breathing?" (They do not.) At a dinner held by the Sangamon County Republicans in February, Shimkus suggested that the sight of farmers "ice-fishing on ponds in Southern Illinois" is the latest evidence that global warming is a "hoax." Oh, and let's not forget the time Shimkus expressed fear that curbing carbon emissions would "take away plant food." (Scientists disagree.)
It's safe to say that a Shimkus-lead energy committee isn't going to take up comprehensive energy legislation anytime soon. (For a hint on what the GOP might propose, check out this Washington Independent post here.)