Trump's likely Interior nominee is the wrong choice—help hold her accountable

Cathy McMorris Rodgers is the wrong choice to be the next head of the Department of the Interior.

Photo by Gage Skidmore, flickr.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, expected to be President-elect Donald Trump's new choice for Secretary of the Interior, has a track record of votes that undermine public lands and ignore the threat of climate change.

UPDATE: Rep. Ryan Zinke has reportedly been offered the Department of the Interior job.

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to lead the Department of the Interior. In doing so, he elevates a politician with a history of anti-conservation rhetoric and congressional action to the brink of managing most American public lands. 

We MUST hold McMorris Rodgers accountable. Please tell your senators to ask her tough questions on the record during her coming confirmation hearings

“Representative McMorris Rodgers' record suggests she does not share the mainstream conservation values of the majority of the American people. Throughout her career, she has more often advanced policies that favor special interests rather than policies protecting our air, land and water," said Wilderness Society Jamie Williams in a statement. “While we will seek out opportunities to work with her whenever it’s appropriate, we must acknowledge her dismal record on conservation during her Congressional career." 

In Congress, McMorris Rodgers has voted for proposals that would:

  • Prioritize drilling on our public lands and waters, including precious places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  • Allow roads to be built through some protected wilderness areas
  • Undermine the ability of presidents to designate national monuments under the broadly popular Antiquities Act
  • Cut funding for crucial conservation programs 

On climate change, the overarching threat that will imperil not only public lands but people and wildlife across the globe, McMorris Rodgers has refused to accept the overwhelming judgment of the scientific community, calling the science "inconclusive at best."  Unsurprisingly, she has fought to prevent rules that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well. 

Representative McMorris Rodgers' record suggests she does not share the mainstream conservation values of the majority of the American people. 

The Wilderness Society has a long track record of working across the political aisle and getting things done no matter who is in the White House or in control of a given federal agency—but McMorris Rodgers' voting record and public statements suggest we will need to carefully scrutinize her every move. That will start with her confirmation hearings in the U.S. Senate, where we strongly urge our elected officials to get her on the record about whether she will support keeping public lands open for all and other critical issues. 

The next Secretary of the Interior might roll back protections on some public lands and open them for oil and gas drilling, decide to reverse progress on factoring climate change into Interior planning and even weaken the wildly popular (and bipartisan-supported) Land and Water Conservation Fund. 

We can't let this one slip away—the fate of Our Wild depends on it. Please tell your senators to get Cathy McMorris Rodgers on the record and hold her accountable.