Newly minted House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who won the gavel Wednesday after three prior Republican nominees failed to reach a majority, is a longtime ally of the oil industry and will be perhaps the most vocal skeptic of the scientific consensus on climate change ever to hold the speakership.
Johnson, whose district includes the onetime oil industry hub of Shreveport, received a 100 percent rating from the pro-fossil fuel American Energy Alliance in 2022, along with every other Republican in Louisiana’s House delegation. The lobbying group had earlier endorsed Johnson’s fellow Louisianan, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who bowed out of the race for Speaker on Oct. 12 after failing to consolidate the necessary 217 votes.
Individuals and PACs associated with the oil and gas industry have donated $23,800 to Johnson in the 2023-24 campaign cycle, the largest amount he received from any group save retired donors, according to data from OpenSecrets.org. In the 2021-22 cycle, the sector donated $84,350.
In 2017, Johnson denied human-caused climate change at a town hall, telling attendees, “The climate is changing, but the question is, is it being caused by natural cycles over the span of the Earth’s history? Or is it changing because we drive SUVs? I don’t believe in the latter. I don’t think that’s the primary driver.”
Johnson has a lifetime score of 2 percent on climate and environmental issues from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), which excoriated him in a statement following his election.
“Johnson has led attacks on our elections, denied that climate change is a result of fossil fuels and polluters, and appears poised to continue to cater to Big Oil and Gas allies as Speaker,” LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said in a statement Wednesday.