According to multiple networks, President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate Washington’s six-term Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Secretary of the Interior. This could signal that federal conservation policies are set to take a hard right turn.
McMorris Rodgers is the highest ranking GOP congresswoman. She sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and Greenpeace are concerned Trump’s pick could move to sell off the nation’s public lands and unravel the Obama administration’s environmental policies.
The Association of Washington Business gave a more favorable write up of the home state nominee who will preside over hot button issues such as the future of Snake River dams.
McMorris Rodgers would be the second woman from the Evergreen State to head the 70,000 employee agency with its $12 billion annual budget, following current Interior Secretary Sally Jewell of Seattle. Jewell previously served as CEO of outdoor retailer REI.
In a statement on her Facebook page back in May, McMorris Rodgers said she cast her presidential primary ballot for Trump, but without “enthusiasm” citing concerns about his colorful campaign commentary. Last month, she held her own election-night celebration in Spokane far-removed from that for Trump in Spokane Valley.
McMorris Rodgers' nomination would create a congressional vacancy to be filled in a special election. It’s up to Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee to choose the dates for that next year.