Barton invokes biblical flood story in discussion of Keystone Pipeline, climate change

Posted Saturday, Apr. 13, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, came up with a biblical take on climate change Wednesday, invoking the story of the Great Flood during a congressional hearing on the Keystone pipeline.

"I would point out that people like me who support hydrocarbon development don't deny that climate is changing," Barton said during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Power. "I think you can have an honest difference of opinion of what's causing that change without automatically being either all in that's all because of mankind or it's all just natural. I think there's a divergence of evidence."

Environmentalists have railed against the Keystone pipeline, which would carry natural gas from Canada to refineries in Texas.

"I would point out that if you're a believer in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change and that certainly wasn't because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy," said Barton, chairman emeritus of the energy committee.

Barton's allusion to the Great Flood and, by extension, Noah's Ark, sparked lots of online commentary and a jab from 2012 Democratic opponent Kenneth Sanders.

"Joe Barton is a disappointment to Texans who count on him to represent their interest; his understanding of God's holy word is somewhat suspect as well," Sanders said in a statement. "As a person of faith, I'm personally disappointed that he has looked into the Good Book and found evidence to deny any human impact on climate change.

"I believe most people in the faith community consult the Bible to strengthen their faith and for instruction on how to live a moral and upright life, not to twist and misinterpret the Word of God for political purposes. He simply supports big oil without restrictions."

Local outreach

Michelle Gutt , who is leaving her job with the city of Charlotte to work for Fort Worth, will earn $110,000 annually as the city's director of communications and public engagement.

Gutt will be responsible for the city's print, digital, cable and media communications. She will also oversee public engagement and internal communications and heed Mayor Betsy Price's charge to make city government more accessible and transparent.

Gutt currently is a corporate communication and marketing specialist in North Carolina. She starts her job in Fort Worth April 29.


State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, was given a Legislator Appreciation Award last week by the Fast Growth School Coalition, a group of Texas school districts advocating for districts trying to keep up with enrollment growth.

"When Texas first recognized the unique needs of the fast-growing school districts, Senator Jane Nelson stepped up to advocate for us," said Michelle Smith, executive director of the Fast Growth School Coalition. "She is significantly responsible for the state's support of fast-growing districts, from the Rio Grande Valley to the Metroplex."

No parking

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, did not take kindly to getting a $25 parking ticket by the Lincoln Memorial late one night in March.

Gohmert, who had taken family members sightseeing, was so angry that he refused to take the ticket and, according to Politico, told park police that his congressional parking placard gave him the privilege of parking in a reserved National Park Service spot. And, oh, yeah, he's on the House committee that oversees the park service, the Natural Resources Committee.

According to Gohmert's office, a park service officer accepted Gohmert's explanation and that was the end of the ticket, except that the Park Police report, Politico said, refers to the Texan as "rude and irate" and "ranting."

That was enough for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington to file an ethics complaint against Gohmert.

CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said, "Rep. Gohmert's sense of entitlement to special treatment is astonishing.""

Staff writer Sandra Baker contributed to this report.

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