Center for Biological Diversity News Release
Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Public Lands and Endangered Species Foe,
Expected Pick to Head Interior Department
WASHINGTON— The Trump transition team is expected to announce the nomination of Cathy McMorris Rodgers, current representative of Washington state’s 5th District, today as secretary of the Interior Department, the federal agency that oversees the majority of America’s public lands, waters and endangered species.
If confirmed by the Senate, McMorris Rodgers would lead federal departments responsible for protecting endangered species and managing more than half a billion acres of America’s public lands, including the national park system and the national wildlife refuge system. She would direct policy and make major decisions on oil, gas, coal and other extraction activities on public lands and oceans, controlling the U.S. Geological Survey (the federal government’s premiere natural and earth sciences agency) and upholding the U.S.’s responsibilities to tribal nations.
“McMorris Rodgers will put fossil fuels and logging ahead of the public lands and endangered species we all cherish,” said Randi Spivak, public lands program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Under McMorris Rodgers corporate polluters will have free rein. Endangered wolves and salmon, wild rivers, whales and our climate will all lose under this long-time servant of the oil, gas and timber industries. Senators who care about America’s beautiful wild places and our planet’s future should fight like hell to block this outrageous nomination.”
McMorris Rodgers is a six-term member of Congress from eastern Washington and is the chair of the House Republican Conference. Over the course of her 11 years in Congress, her anti-environmental votes earned her a League of Conservation Voter’s lifetime score of 4 percent. McMorris Rodgers’ voting against environmental protections benefits her financial backers. During her career, the oil, gas and logging industries have been among her top 10 campaign contributors.
In 2015 McMorris Rodgers cosponsored H.R 1526, which would have mandated logging levels on the national forest system, limited public input and disclosure of environmental harm, and re-established the perverse incentive of linking county revenue to logging levels. The congresswoman has been actively promoting the privatization and industrialization of America’s public lands. She has cosponsored multiple bills to weaken protections on public land, as well as H.R. 1126, which would have required the interior secretary to sell more than 3 million acres of western lands to private interests.
McMorris Rodgers has also publically supported backdoor riders to strip protections for gray wolves, sponsored legislation to undermine efforts to save Pacific salmon and voted for nearly every anti-endangered species bill to cross her desk during her term in Congress.
McMorris Rodgers has long been a supporter of expanding offshore drilling in the Pacific Ocean, voting to open the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas drilling.
“If McMorris Rodgers brings her ideology to management of America’s public lands, it will be open season for polluters who want to frack, drill and mine our public lands and waters,” said Spivak. “She just doesn’t understand that the nation’s public lands are a legacy for this and future generations rather than up for grabs to industry.”
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.