Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane is reportedly under consideration as secretary of the Interior in the Donald Trump administration.
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, is reportedly under consideration as chief overseer of the nation’s public lands in the administration of president-elect Donald Trump.
McMorris Rodgers met with Trump last week at a New Jersey golf club and The New York Times reported Tuesday she was getting a “hard look” as the next secretary of the Interior.
Later Tuesday afternoon, POLITICO reported that Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin was Trump’s leading contender for the post. And early Tuesday evening, McMorris Rodgers announced she was named a vice chair of Trump’s transition team.
Whoever gets the Interior job would succeed another Washingtonian; former REI chief executive Sally Jewell has served as Interior secretary under President Obama since 2013.
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Whether Interior is headed by McMorris Rodgers or another candidate — who reportedly also include former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and oil-products executive Forrest Lucas — the agency is likely to chart an unabashedly pro-fossil fuels course under the Trump administration.
Under Jewell, Interior suspended new federal coal leases and ordered a top-to-bottom review of the leasing program. The administration also recently blocked new oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean.
During his campaign Trump ignored the overwhelming scientific consensus that human-caused global warming has reached a dangerous tipping point, calling climate change “a hoax.” His advisers have vowed to rescind such Obama-era regulations to boost oil and coal extraction.
Leaders of Trump’s transition team for the Interior department include Doug Domenech, who directs a pro-fossil fuels industry project at The Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank.
That group is co-sponsoring a climate-policy summit in Washington, D.C., next week that includes a panel debating “the case for and against catastrophic climate change.”
A spokeswoman for McMorris Rodgers did not respond Tuesday to requests for comment. The Spokane Republican was first elected to Congress in 2004 after a decade in the state Legislature. She’s now the highest-ranking Republican woman in congress.
In announcing her post with the transition team, McMorris Rodgers said in a statement, “The American people sent a message with this election: it is time to shake up the status quo. I’m proud to work alongside Donald Trump and Mike Pence as they lead the fight to restore the people’s voice in our government.”
Interior, an agency with 70,000 employees and a $12 billion annual budget, is responsible for federal lands management, including coal leases, offshore drilling and management of national parks.
Trump’s nominee for Interior secretary will be subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
McMorris Rodgers tepidly endorsed Trump before Washington’s presidential primary in May, while continuing to criticize his behavior, including reported unwanted sexual advances toward women.