Editor's Note: Reports spread widely on Friday, Dec. 9, when IRU published this post, that Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., had been selected as President Elect Donald Trump's Interior Secretary pick. The news changed rapidly by Monday and Tuesday when Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., emerged as the incoming administration's selection.
Americans have been wincing in recent weeks as president elect Donald Trump announces his nominees for cabinet positions. Citizens who treasure clean air and water, healthy ecosystems, native fish and wildlife, the development of renewable power sources and fighting climate change have little comfort that the next four years will bring progress on these important issues.
The newest partisan voice to enter the arena is Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., who was nominated to be the next Secretary of the Interior. If confirmed, McMorris Rodgers would be in charge of millions of acres of public land throughout the western United States. It’s a particularly curious appointment given the congresswoman is a staunch supporter of the movement to privatize our public lands.
McMorris Rodgers’s voting record illustrates her indifference for endangered species such as salmon and wolves while embracing planet warming coal and oil over clean energy development.
Her antiquated views on the nation’s energy picture are distressing: she lauds low value, high cost dams that kill our wild salmon and steelhead and require massive taxpayer subsidies to keep them operating. Instead of being part of a solution, the congresswoman recites misleading industry talking points while Idaho’s endangered wild salmon and steelhead populations slip further toward extinction.
Americans deserve an unbiased interior secretary who is willing and capable of evaluating issues, collaborating with all interests and making fair decisions based on science, facts and the law. It will be up to McMorris Rodgers to prove she’s worthy of the position.