Today, Donald Trump nominated his pick for Secretary of the Interior: Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the House Republican Conference, and a vocal climate change denier.
Just days after selecting Scott Pruitt—an attorney general whose pockets have been lined by the fossil fuel industry—to head up the Environmental Protection Agency, Trump has beefed up his roster of pro-fossil fuel personalities. At this point, a larger theme is emerging. As president, Trump intends to undo the current administration’s climate legacy by unleashing Cabinet officials with experience systematically striking down climate regulations.
According to the League of Conservation Voters, a national environmental nonprofit, McMorris Rodgers boasts a lifetime voting score of 4 percent. She’s voted to strike down bills that would limit emissions from power plants, protect communities from toxic coal ash, ban the sale of ivory products in the US, and protect threatened species like the lesser prairie chicken.
As Secretary of the Interior, McMorris Rodgers would have tremendous jurisdiction over the fate of America’s climate future, national parks, and wildlife. The Center for Biological Diversity, an endangered species protection nonprofit, called the congresswoman a “foe” to public lands, having actively promoted “the privatization and industrialization of America’s public lands,” and cosponsored “multiple bills to weaken protections on public land.”
In 2011, McMorris Rodgers supported H.R. 1126, which would have offered up more than 3 million acres of federal lands in the West to private interests. In her role as Secretary, she’ll oversee 20 percent of America’s public lands, including national parks, national forests, and national wildlife refuges.
Like Pruitt and Trump, McMorris Rodgers also believes that man-made global warming is a hoax. In 2008, during a forum on climate change, the congresswoman said the following: “We believe Al Gore deserves an ‘F’ in science and an ‘A’ in creative writing.” She also told the Spokane Review that, “Scientific reports are inconclusive at best on human culpability of global warming.” (Approximately 97 percent of climate scientists agree that global warming is real and can be attributed to human activities.)
It’s especially concerning that McMorris Rodgers has voted to weaken the Interior’s power to make decisions based on climate science. In 2014, she opposed an amendment that would allow the Interior Secretary “to include climate change as a consideration in making decisions related to conservation and recreation on public lands.”
“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 Randi Spivak, public lands program director at the Center for Biological Diversity.
“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.”
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