Greens slam Trump’s Interior Department pick

Greens slam Trump’s Interior Department pick
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Environmentalists are ripping President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE’s pick to lead the Interior Department, calling her a threat to public lands.

Greens say Rep. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Republicans in campaign mode for top spots on House environmental committees | Peterson loss prompts scramble for House Agriculture chair Republicans in campaign mode for top spots on House environmental committees Conservatives seize on New York Post story to push Section 230 reform MORE (R-Wash.) — Trump's pick for Interior secretary, according to a person close to Trump’s transition team — would be an irresponsible steward for the nation’s public lands, opening them up to mining, drilling and more with little regard to the environment.


Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency | House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally | Trump administration pushes for rollback of Arctic offshore drilling regulations House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally MORE (D-Mass.) said McMorris Rodgers’s appointment amounts to a “fire sale” of federal lands.

“The Trump administration intends to turn the Interior Department from a watchdog of the fossil fuel industry into a lapdog,” he said. “Any nominee who intends to hand over the keys to our public lands to the oil, gas, mining and logging industries and denies the science of climate change is unsuitable to lead the Interior Department.”

The League of Conservation Voters gives McMorris Rodgers a 4 percent lifetime score on its legislative scorecard, meant as an environmental barometer for lawmakers.

“Donald Trump just posted a massive ‘for sale’ sign on our public lands by nominating Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Secretary of the Interior,” said Gene Karpinski, the group’s president.

“In Congress, Rep. McMorris Rodgers has consistently voted to prioritize drilling on our public lands and waters, including in sensitive areas like the Arctic, and even to open up our public lands for sale to the highest bidder.”

The opposition to McMorris Rodgers has not reached the same pitch as the all-out castigation of Trump’s decision earlier this week to nominate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who frequently sues the Environmental Protection Agency, as its administrator.

Unlike Pruitt, greens and Democrats are not planning on trying to block McMorris Rodgers’s confirmation.

Nonetheless, they are very disappointed in her voting record.

“Turning the keys to our nation’s public lands over to someone who has called for drilling and development in pristine landscapes is not what most Americans want,” said Jamie Williams, president of the Wilderness Society.

“Trump is handing over our public lands to the fossil fuel industry,” said May Boeve, executive director of 350.org. “Forget draining the swamp, Trump wants to frack, mine, and drill it.”

Some greens held their fire, preferring to push McMorris Rodgers to embrace their priorities.

“Cathy McMorris Rodgers has an important opportunity to use the power of Interior to protect wildlife, defend public lands and address climate change — all of which matter to our birds and our kids,” David Yarnold, president of the National Audubon Society, said in a statement. “Americans from every corner of the country and all across the political spectrum strongly support protecting our natural heritage because conservation doesn’t have a party.”

McMorris Rodgers is not as outspoken on issues of conservation and natural resources as some other members of Congress.

But her voting record aligns with most Republicans who want to increase resource development on public lands and waters and reduce landowners’ responsibilities to protect species, among other positions.

Public lands are a key piece of Trump’s energy policy. He has pledged to unlock the fossil fuel on public lands and waters, which he said could create hundreds of thousands of jobs and trillions of dollars of economic activity.