President-elect Donald Trump will nominate Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), a committed climate change denier, for Secretary of the Interior, sources confirmed to CNBC on Friday.
McMorris Rodgers is the highest-ranking Republican woman in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving as chair of the House Republican Conference, and has "taken almost half a million dollars in campaign funds from the oil and gas industry in recent years," observed Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter—and McMorris Rodgers' voting record reflects Big Oil's contributions to her political career.
Environmentalists were galvanized by the decision to nominate yet another climate denying advocate for fossil fuels to head an environmental agency, and were swift to voice their disbelief, outrage, and condemnation.
"Forget draining the swamp, Trump wants to frack, mine, and drill it."
—May Boeve, 350.org"In what has sadly become a reoccurring theme of Donald Trump's transition, his expected pick for Secretary of the Interior, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, constitutes a slap in the face of science," said Hauter. "Ms. McMorris Rodgers is a proud climate denier who has voted consistently against common-sense environmental protections, rules for fossil fuel drilling on public lands, and virtually anything seen as a hinderance to big oil and gas companies making more money."
As Secretary of the Interior, McMorris Rogers would be tasked with protecting and preserving our treasured national parks and public lands for the sake of future generations and our country's long-term environmental health. Yet based on her voting record, McMorris Rogers seemingly holds a blatant disregard for our environment and the sanctity of these fragile places. She sees these lands as nothing more than a revenue source for polluting fossil fuel drillers. It shouldn't come as a surprise that she's taken almost half a million dollars in campaing funds from the oil and gas industry in recent years.
"On wildlife, McMorris Rodgers has stood in the way of species recovery," added Drew Caputo, Earthjustice's vice president of litigation for lands, oceans, and wildlife. "She has co-sponsored legislation to remove all federal protections for the endangered gray wolf. She is also one of the most vocal opponents of restoring the lower Snake River, long highlighted by biologists as the most promising tool for recovering endangered wild salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest."
Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune quipped: "The Department of the Interior exists to protect and manage the nation's natural resources and cultural heritage. Yet President-elect Trump seems to have missed the 'protect' part of that statement when nominating Rep. McMorris Rodgers to head the agency."
And May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, charged that "Trump is handing over our public lands to the fossil fuel industry. Forget draining the swamp, Trump wants to frack, mine, and drill it. The keep it in the ground movement is ready to fight this reckless expansion of the fossil fuel industry in order to protect our communities and climate."
"The struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline has watered the seeds of a thousand other fights," Boeve added. "Resistance will only grow over the months to come."