Friday, December 09, 2016

Trump to pick Rep. McMorris Rodgers for Interior secretary

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) to lead the Interior Department, a source close to the transition team told The Hill Friday. Trump will tap McMorris-Rodgers, a five-term Republican who represents eastern Washington and is the chair of the House GOP Conference, to lead the department. The New York Times first reported the news. McMorris Rodgers is a vice chair of Trump’s transition team and the highest-ranking woman in GOP leadership. She formally met with Trump on Nov. 20. Her office declined to comment Friday. McMorris Rodgers is a booster of hydropower and has pushed legislation to tackle forest fires in the West. She has voted in favor of expanding fossil fuel development on public lands and in federal areas off-shore. She opposes efforts to change the royalty rates on federal coal mining, something pushed hard by Obama’s Interior Department, and voted for a GOP budget that would allow the sale of public lands to mining companies. In the past, she has introduced legislation to require congressional approval before the president can designate a national monument, and a bill directing the Bureau of Land Management to release public lands it holds that it has deemed not suitable for wilderness status. In a 2012 speech to the Society of American Foresters, McMorris Rodgers said, “it is no coincidence that many of the counties with the highest unemployment rates in the country are those which are surrounded by federal forests,” and said the federal government should “undertake a comprehensive review of their land ownership policies.” “By removing lands from private ownership — and thus, from the local municipal tax rolls – the government stifles locally-driven development and makes rural communities more dependent on Washington, DC,” she said then...more

And this article has the following info: 

 1) She's pretty much a generic Republican.
McMorris Rodgers isn't someone like Raul Labrador, prone to publicly challenge the party's conventional wisdom. Instead, with the possible exception of her caution of military intervention in Syria, she's been a party-line Republican, more in the Rep. Eric Cantor mode than the Ted Cruz mode. Mainstream Republicans are skeptical of climate change and in favor of pipelines and drilling; so is McMorris Rodgers. While she has a 0 percent score from the League of Conservative Voters, so do over 100 of her Republican colleagues in the House...

 2) She supported selling off federal lands — but just the federal lands already deemed "suitable for disposal" during the Clinton administration. 
A lot of progressive blogs and critics have been jumping all over a bill that McMorris Rodgers co-sponsored in 2011 that favored selling off several million acres of federal land. But it's important to separate this bill from more radical proposals that suggest, say, giving over federal lands almost entirely to the states. Instead, this bill said that the Department of Interior should sell off the 3.3 million acres — about 1 percent of federal lands — that had already been labeled "suitable for disposal" by the Department of Interior during the Clinton administration. Often, according to the Bureau of Land Management, these pieces of lands are remote, isolated, and unwanted by the government. (Those same attributes make them not particularly profitable to sell.) In other words, her support of that one bill doesn't exactly make her Cliven Bundy.

...4) McMorris Rodgers really loves dams.
 Much of McMorris Rodgers' legislation has been centered on boosting or supporting hydroelectric power. She believes hydropower could be used more prominently throughout the United States. "Unlike other renewables, like wind and solar, hydro is a consistent reliable energy source that produces power regardless of the weather conditions or time of the day," she wrote in a 2011 op-ed. She argues that modern technology allows salmon and dams to coexist without much of a problem. Similarly, she's introduced bills to try to make it easier to relicense hydropower facilities. Sometimes her support for dams has earned her the ire of environmental groups. But she's also received a rare note of praise from the American Rivers advocacy group, noting how, in 2013, she "worked with American Rivers on successful legislation to promote hydropower without undermining bedrock environmental laws like the Clean Water Act." They were less impressed with her recent work, where they say McMorris Rodgers "authored and championed legislation to roll back protections at hydropower dams, weakening safeguards for clean water, fish and wildlife and public lands, and undermining the protection of tribal lands in hydroelectric dam relicensing proceedings. "

5) McMorris Rodgers is not a fan of the Endangered Species Act — or at least how it's been used. 
In a 2008 press release on Endangered Species Day she argued the act had been a failure in need of reform, saying it had "become a source of conflict between federal regulators and communities and local landowners." "Now is the time to move away from burdensome regulations, lawsuits and punitive settlements to a more balanced and collaborative approach to land use," McMorris Rodgers wrote. It's a theme she's returned to repeatedly, proposing a bill that would inform customers of just how costly conforming with the Endangered Species Act would be. She also praised the decision to delist the gray wolf as an endangered species.
6) She's suggested big forest fires should be addressed through better forest management — not by addressing climate change. 

 McMorris Rodgers isn't the kind of representative who's spent a lot of time railing against the science on climate change. But she's often dodged questions about whether higher temperatures were responsible for more forest fires, instead blaming forest management practices.  She's pushed legislation to make removing dead trees from federal lands easier.  

And it is with a sense of sadness and remorse that I bring you the following headlines: (hee, hee)

Conservationists go green at McMorris Rodgers as Trump Cabinet secretary 

Trump’s Picks for EPA and Interior Threaten the Future of Clean Water

Trump to pick oil drilling advocate, climate change sceptic to run Interior Department, sources

Sierra Club: McMorris Rodgers Wrong Choice for America’s Public Lands, Wildlife

Enviros raise concerns, GOP cheers Trump’s reported pick to head Interior Department

Donald Trump's Interior Secretary Pick Doesn't Want to Combat Climate Change 

Western Watersheds opposes Interior pick

Trump's pick for Interior no friend of America's parks, nonprofits say

1 comment:

J.R. Absher said...

Appreciate you providing all the links in one place, Frank. In my many years writing/reporting, I usually learned as much or more by determining who (what group/faction) opposed an appointment/legislation/issue than by who supported it!