Trump expected to name McMorris-Rodgers to head Interior Department

Published reports from the Wall Street Journal and other news sources indicated Dec. 9 that President-elect Donald Trump plans to select Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Washington) to head the Department of Interior.

Her congressional website indicates that McMorris Rodgers was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2004. McMorris Rodgers is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

McMorris Rodgers is co-chair of the Northwest Energy Caucus and the founder of the Hydropower Caucus, and is a long-time champion of dams and hydropower as a source of renewable, clean, reliable, affordable energy. She was a conferee on the energy bill, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016 (S. 2012),

“As Chair of the House Republican Conference, she is the fourth highest-ranking Republican in the House and the highest-ranking woman in Congress,” the McMorris Rodgers website indicates.

She is also a member of the Trump transition team.

“Her plate will be full from the minute she takes office,” said Bracewell official Eric Washburn, a former Senate staffer who works on public land issues. “OPEC just got agreement on a supply cut that will raise oil and gas prices and likely lead to more demand to drill on federal lands.”

“Renewable energy projects, transmission lines, and pipelines will continue to be sited and built there,” Washburn added. “And all this will need to be balanced with the need to conserve mule deer, elk, pronghorn, greater sage grouse, trout and hundreds of other species that rely on those lands, and which sportsmen spend billions of dollars each year chasing after.  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.”

Public Citizen, on the other hand, criticized the latest Trump selection. “President-elect Donald Trump again is choosing to enrich his corporate cronies at the expense of the country,” Public Citizen said in a news release.

“She has supported every form of power that’s dirty, expensive and harmful to humans. With the apparent exception of hydropower, which is a major power source in her home state and suffers from significant ecological problems, she has opposed energy from sources that are clean, inexpensive and popular with the American people,” Public Citizen said.

Public Citizen also said that McMorris Rodgers has been quoted as saying she is “still learning” about the issue of climate change.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.