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MEDIA CONTACTS: Jennifer Witherspoon: Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-0269, cell: (415) 298-0582 jwitherspoon@defenders.org


WASHINGTON (December 9, 2016) – Today President-elect Donald Trump is expected to announce the nomination of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers as Secretary of the Interior, as is being reported by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other outlets. After the president, the Secretary of the Interior has more power than anyone else in government over the nation's public lands, wildlife and natural resources.

Defenders of Wildlife opposes this nomination. 

The following is a statement from CEO and President of Defenders of Wildlife, Jamie Rappaport Clark (Twitter: @JClarkprez): 

“For the second time this week, President-elect Trump has chosen to commit the health of America’s environment to a person who is hostile to the very values she would be charged to protect. The Secretary of the Interior should cherish America’s public lands and work mightily to sustain America’s wildlife, for the benefit of all Americans and for our children to come. 

“Unfortunately, Rep. McMorris Rodgers has demonstrated the opposite throughout her career. She has consistently sought to promote development on our public lands and waters at the expense of environmental protection and wildlife.  

“Following the nomination of Scott Pruitt as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the nomination of McMorris Rodgers to lead the Interior is another signal from the Trump administration that environmental protections will likely be rolled back and that America’s land, water and wildlife are up for sale. Defenders of Wildlife opposes the nomination of Cathy McMorris Rodgers as Secretary of the Interior.”


After the President, the Secretary of the Interior has more power than anyone else in government over the nation's public lands and natural resources. The Secretary of the Interior is steward over a quarter of the nation's land area, and 300 million acres on the outer-continental shelf. The secretary is required by many laws to carefully balance the grazing, timber and mining interests with fish and wildlife conservation, watershed protection, wilderness and recreational needs.

The Secretary of the Interior oversees the U.S. Department of the Interior, responsible for the management and conservation of federal lands in the United States. These include national wildlife refuges, national parks and other public lands, including those leased for oil and gas extraction.

Rep. McMorris Rodgers is a strong advocate of increased oil and gas development and would no doubt help lead the effort to open up federal lands and waters to fossil fuel development. She is a climate change skeptic. She has sponsored bills that would strip gray wolves of protection as endangered species, undermine federal land management plans intended to protect the Greater Sage Grouse, sell public national forest land to private companies, encourage unregulated deforestation, open up federal lands and waters to fossil-fuel development and reduce citizen participation by bypassing the environmental review process.

McMorris Rodgers has continually voted against the preservation of natural resources, and has a lifetime score of zero for protecting wildlife and habitat based on Defenders of Wildlife's Conservation Scorecards covering the years she was a member of Congress.



Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org. For the latest news from Defenders, follow us at @DefendersNews.