Trump To Pick Cathy McMorris Rodgers As Interior Secretary

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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President-elect Donald Trump is expected to pick Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to head the Interior Department, according to presidential transition team sources.

McMorris Rodgers is the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House and serves as vice-chair for Trump’s transition team. Trump is expected to name McMorris Rodgers as his Interior secretary pick, a senior transition team official told CNBC Friday.

Trump made American energy independence a major the cornerstone of his energy plan, and intends to open more lands to oil and natural gas drilling. Trump also wants to mine more coal — federal lands contain vast reserves.

“On energy, I will cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy – including shale energy and clean coal – creating many millions of high-paying jobs,” Trump said in a video recently released by his transition team.

One such regulation is the Interior Department’s recently finalized rule for flaring natural gas on federal lands. It’s expected to cost $1.4 billion.

The flaring rule and about 150 other regulations have been listed by experts as rules Congress can repeal under the Congressional Review Act. Trump would likely sign legislation repealing energy restrictions.

“I believe firmly in conserving our wonderful natural resources and beautiful natural habitats. My environmental agenda will be guided by true specialists in conservation, not those with radical political agendas,” Trump said at a campaign stop in September.

Aside from drilling and conservation, Republicans want the next Interior pick to focus on weeding cronyism out of the agency.

“Cronyism is one of the problems,” Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

In June, for example, investigators found Bob Abbey, the former Bureau of Land Management head, stood to personally benefit from the sale of federal land to a developer.

In another case, a U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service employee was caught secretly taking money from an environmental lobbying group while also working for the government.

Federal prosecutors initially declined to prosecute the employee, but he eventually agreed to a plea deal.

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