Likely Pick for Dept. of Interior Favors Offshore E&P

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By MarEx 2016-12-12 21:44:04

On Monday, Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers was spotted in the lobby of Trump Tower, the antechamber for interviewees for positions in the upcoming Trump administration. While she declined to comment on any conversations she may have had, her presence added credence to reports late last week that she was a leading contender for the post of Secretary of the Interior. 

"Well, we talked about a lot of things,” McMorris-Rodgers told C-SPAN. “It’s always an honor to spend time with the president-elect and I walk away just reminded that he’s a man of action and I’m very enthusiastic about the leadership that he is bringing.”

McMorris-Rodgers serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and she is the highest-ranking woman in the Republican Party. McMorris-Rodgers has generally favored offshore energy development. She voted in favor of opening the outer continental shelf of the eastern seaboard to exploration; voted against a number of measures intended to regulate CO2 emissions; and has opposed tax credits for renewable energy. 

In 2012, she told a newspaper in her district that she believed scientific reports "are inconclusive at best on human culpability of global warming." Her views are consistent with those of Trump's pick for EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, who wrote earlier in 2016 that "scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connections to the actions of mankind." 

Leading environmental advocacy groups have already criticized her likely nomination.

The League of Conservation Voters, which publishes a score card ranking the environmental record of each member of Congress, gave McMorris-Rodgers a zero in its most recent ratings. "Donald Trump just posted a massive 'for sale' sign on our public lands," the LCV said in a statement. 

Eric Washburn, a prominent energy lobbyist with Bracewell & Giuliani, spoke in favor of her appointment. "She certainly knows all these interests and hopefully will be able to chart a course for the agency that allows for conservation and development to proceed hand in hand," he said, speaking to Reuters.

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