Quick Hit Progress Illinois Thursday November 4th, 2010, 11:03am

Global Warming Denier Shimkus Hoping For Top Spot On Energy Committee

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.)

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