Wolf Conservation Center Opposes Nomination of Cathy McMorris Rodgers As Interior Secretary
As of Friday, December 9, 2016, it seems evident that President-elect Donald Trump is expected to tap Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a sixth-term Republican from Washington State, for Secretary of Interior.
As leader of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Secretary of Interior is charged to use sound science to manage and sustain America’s lands, water, wildlife, and energy resources. As keeper of our nation’s legacy, the Secretary manages the resources in his/her care to benefit Americans now and in the future.
As a member of the federal Species Survival Program for both the Mexican gray wolf and Red wolf, the Wolf Conservation Center works cooperatively with other conservation organizations and federal agencies to maintain healthy, genetically diverse and demographically stable populations of these critically imperiled species for their long-term future. Their importance to balanced and resilient ecosystems is undeniable, and wolf recovery efforts should be a matter of pride and priority for our nation.
Thus, as a pre-eminent facility in the Eastern United States for the captive breeding and pre-release of these endangered canid species, we oppose the nomination of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior. Her lack of support for Endangered Species Act — or at least how it’s been used – clearly stands in opposition to our core beliefs and mission.
In a 2008 press release on Endangered Species Day McMorris Rodgers argued that the Endangered Species 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.”
In June, 2013, McMorris Rodgers also praised the decision to delist the gray wolf as an endangered species with the following statement:
“I applaud the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to delist the gray wolf as an endangered species. It is long overdue. We need to ensure wolf management is done in a realistic manner, taking into account the needs of Eastern Washington, which has nine known wolf packs. I am confident that champions like Senator John Smith and Representatives Joel Kretz and Shelly Short will continue to oversee proper management at the State level. I am committed to a solution that makes sense for Eastern Washington and protects our livestock and farming communities.”
As of Friday, December 9, 2016, it seems evident that President-elect Donald Trump is expected to tap Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Washington State) to lead the U.S. Interior Department. Rodgers, is a six-term Republican congresswoman who would bring a conservative Northwesterner’s perspective into President-elect Trump’s cabinet. While a supporter of hydropower, which is popular in her home state, she has also repeatedly cast doubt on the existence of human-induced climate change. She has also regularly voted to open federal public lands to more extractive natural resource: from increased logging to mining to natural gas and oil drilling. While Rodgers has supported renewable energy and the responsible siting of wind and solar energy projects on public land, many of her House votes have been bad for the environment. The congresswoman has voted to open the Atlantic Ocean to drilling, to prohibit the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, opposed methods such as cap and trade to reduce carbon emissions, has fought efforts to regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on federal land, voted to make it easier to drill in Native American lands and opposed federal efforts to address climate change like the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the first federal rules to limit emissions from existing power plants.
Rodgers has earned a score of 4 percent from the League of Conservation Voters since being elected in 2004, a group generally regarded as a more centrist environmental advocacy organization. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she would lead the President-elect’s efforts to open up federal lands and waters to fossil-fuel development and reverse environmental policies and protections that the Obama administration has pursued over the past eight years.
The Department of the Interior (DOI) protects and manages our nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage. It stewards approximately 500 million acres of public lands and 700 million subsurface acres including magnificent vistas, unique ecosystems, treasured natural, cultural, and heritage assets, including our national parks, national wildlife refuges, and federal public lands. It also manages resources that supply our nation’s energy, the water in the 17 Western States and supplies 17 percent of the nation’s hydropower energy. It upholds Federal trust responsibilities to 566 federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Natives, as well.
The DOI is also responsible for migratory bird and wildlife conservation, historic preservation, endangered species conservation, surface-mined lands protection and restoration, mapping, geological, hydrological, and biological science for our nation. Thus , effective management of the DOI requires dynamic and modern strategies to confront major trends including the likelihood of continued and increasingly constrained funding resources, the changing demographics of the population that is becoming more urban, diverse, and technologically advanced, and a changing climate that will continue to have impacts on land, water, wildlife, and tribal communities.
As a bureau within the DOI, the USFWS guides the conservation, development, and management of our nation’s fish and wildlife resources. The Service works with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. As the principal federal partner responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act (ESA), it takes the lead in recovering and conserving our nation’s imperiled species by developing and implementing recovery plans that provide detailed site-specific management actions for private, Federal, and State cooperation in conserving federally listed species and their ecosystems.