While Illinois Congressman John Shimkus wasn’t elected Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Shimkus was appointed head of the new Environment and Economy Subcommittee. The GOP leadership carved out the new subcommittee for Shimkus, who has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars of contributions from electric utilities and the oil and gas industry over his career.
An adamant climate change denier, Shimkus believes that carbon dioxide is not harmful to the environment and that man-made climate change isn’t real because “the earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth.”
During a 2009 congressional hearing, Shimkus labeled the efforts at stopping climate change as “the largest assault on democracy and freedom in this country that I’ve ever experienced,” including the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He also said that his interpretation of scripture contradicts and trumps climate change science:
I want to start with Genesis:8, verse 21 and 22, ‘Never again will I curse the ground because of man even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood and never again will I destroy all living creatures as I have done. As long as the earth endures, sea, time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.’ I believe that’s the infallible word of God and that’s the way it’s going to be for his creation.
Shimkus went on to say that because humans “breath out carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is not a toxic emittent.” He even claimed that “the climate debate has, at least for two years, has ended with this election,” and Politico reports that Shimkus wants the committee to focus on finding ways to “permanently block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.”
Clearly, a Subcommittee on the Environment and Economy is fitting for a Congressman who wants to use his powers to thwart attempts at environmental protection and defend his radical religious views on climate change.