Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who recently admitted that some consider him “the dumbest guy in Congress”, seems to intend to prove these people right. On Tuesday, the Republican congressman asked a representative of the U.S. Forest Service, who was tasked with managing America’s national forests and grasslands, if the agency could, so to speak, consider branching out.
“I understand from what has been witnessed, Forest Service and the [Bureau of Land Management], you would very much like to work on the issue of climate change. I was informed by the former director of NASA that they have found that the moon’s orbit is changing a bit, and the same goes for the earth̵
It is true that the moon is currently drifting away from Earth at a speed of approx. 3.8 centimeters a year, a speed that has fluctuated the last, oh, 4.5 billion years or so. And although Gohmert did not say so directly, it is also true that the rate of “lunar retreat,” as scientists call the phenomenon, has at times coincided with major changes in the Earth’s climate, such as the melting of glaciers. But these are changes in the Earth’s climate cause fluctuations in the speed of the lunar retreat rather than the lunar retraction that cause fluctuations in the Earth’s climate. Which is another way of saying: IIf the forest service’s efforts to combat climate change were so wildly successful that they managed to stop the melting of the Earth’s glaciers in its tracks, this effort could theoretically have an impact on the moon’s orbit at Gohmert’s request.
But it was unclear what Gohmert was hoping the forest service might be capable of at this point about the complicated gravitational dance that the moon and earth have been locked inside for millions of millennia. Still, Jennifer Eberlien, associate vice president of the National Forest System, did her best to humor Gohmert’s query and kept an almost straight face when she responded. “I’ll have to follow up with you on the one, Mr. Gohmert, ”said Eberlien.
Eberlien had been invited to testify before the House National Resources Committee on the Outdoor Recreational Facilitation Act (SOAR Act) and the Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development Act (SHRED Act) and to express in general the Agency’s “strong support” of the efforts to encourage recreational use of federal lands so one can understand why she might have been unprepared to ask Gohmert’s question about the moon.
The Republican Texas, for what it’s worth, seemed open to waiting for an answer. “Yes, yes, if you find out how you can make that change in the forest service, I want to know,” Gohmert said.