Trump to Pick McMorris Rodgers for Interior Secretary

WASHINGTON (CN) – President-elect Donald Trump will name Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers as head of the Department of the Interior.

McMorris Rodgers has represented Washington’s 5th congressional district in the House of Representatives since 2005 and spent the last term as chair of the Republican House Conference. She won reelection this November and is currently the vice chair of the Trump transition team.

If confirmed to lead the Interior Department, McMorris Rodgers would oversee the leasing of federal land for energy production, among other tasks. McMorris Rodgers voted in 2011 to open up oceans around the United States to drilling, which could mesh with Trump’s stated desire to roll back regulations President Barack Obama put in place on drilling on public lands.

In 2013 she voted for a bill to limit the federal government’s ability to regulate fracking on public lands.

Rodgers has also been a vocal supporter of hydroelectricity, calling it a “great opportunity for energy growth” on her website.

McMorris Rodgers suggested in a speech in 2012 that public lands can hurt low-income areas that could use their private development for economic gain.

“By removing lands from private ownership – thus, from the local municipal tax rolls – the government stifles locally driven development and makes rural communities more dependent on Washington, DC,” McMorris Rodgers said in the speech, according to The Hill.

The League of Conservation Voters, which gave McMorris Rodgers a 4 percent lifetime score on its national environmental scorecard, criticized the appointment Friday.

“Donald Trump just posted a massive “for sale” sign on our public lands by nominating Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers for secretary of the Interior,” League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski said in a statement. “In Congress, Rep. McMorris Rodgers has consistently voted to prioritize drilling on our public lands and waters, including in sensitive areas like the Arctic and even to open up our public lands to the highest bidder.”

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