Six-term Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the only woman on the House Republican leadership team, has been named as President-elect Donald Trump‘s pick for Secretary of the Department of Interior (DOI), which has jurisdiction over natural resource agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Reclamation.
In 2011, McMorris Rodgers voted three times against a resolution acknowledging that climate change is real and caused by human activity. In 2012 she said in an interview that “scientific reports are inconclusive at best on human culpability of global warming,” while also acknowledging that “regardless of which theory proves correct, the goal is the same to reduce carbon emissions, we need innovation in the private sector; not excessive government regulation to stifle some industries while rewarding others. I oppose ‘cap and trade’ and other big government schemes because they will destroy jobs while likely having minimal impact on the climate.”
In 2014, she opposed a measure to allow the Interior Secretary to consider climate change in making conservation and recreation decisions for public lands. More recently, in response to forest fires in Washington state over the summer, she cited the need to support “better forest management” but dodged making the link to climate impacts. “If people really understood the conditions of our forests bug infestations that we have, the disease, dying timber that is basically kindling for fires I believe that they would be demanding that we take action.” According to the U.S. Forest Service, “Changing climate conditions can influence the spread of infectious diseases and their carriers, and add stresses to trees, making them more susceptible to diseases. Tree disease can also be caused by abiotic conditions such as air pollution.”
DOI manages more than 500 million acres of public lands, including over 400 national parks.