Who Will Lead Trump’s Department of the Interior? The Current Picks

 

The United States Department of the Interior may be one of the less heralded cabinet positions, but for those of us who camp, hike, and make use of protected Federal lands, there is no more impactful piece of executive power. With the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Geological Survey, and the National Park Service under their watch, the Secretary of the Interior is charged with everything from overseeing wildlife refuges to making decisions regarding offshore drilling. That is why we're keeping close eyes on Trump's choice to fill those shoes. Here's a look at the candidates rumored to be in competition for the decision.

Forrest Lucas

Past Jobs: Co-founder of oil products company Lucas Oil, owner of Lucas Cattle Company

As a co-founder of an automotive oil and additives distributor with strong ties to commercial agriculture, Lucas is apt to support fracking and offshore drilling. Lucas is also the founder of the Protect the Harvest Political Action Committee. PHPAC says it works to "inform America's consumers, businesses, and decision-makers about the threats posed by animal rights groups and anti-farming extremists."

Robert Grady

Past Jobs: Venture capitalist and private equity investor at Gryphon Investors

Grady’s past political experience includes time as a legislative assistant, chief of staff, and speechwriter for several New Jersey Republicans, including Chris Christie. Grady was a speechwriter and policy adviser for George H.W. Bush during the 1988 Presidential campaign, and as Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget for Natural Resources, Energy and Science for Bush from 1989–1991. He is credited for advising Bush in crafting the Clean Air Act amendments in 1991.

Jan Brewer

Past Jobs: Former Arizona Governor

Brewer’s most notable actions as the governor of Arizona don’t necessarily apply to federal land, but who’s on it. In 2010 Brewer signed the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act into law. The law made it "a state crime for illegal immigrants to not have an alien registration document," and requires police "to question people about their immigration status if there is reason,” as well as making it illegal for people to hire illegal immigrants for day labor or to knowingly transport them. In terms of natural resources, she has made helpful strides. Under Brewer, Arizona thinned approximately 29,000 acres on state land in an effort to decrease forest fire risk. On the flip side, she also directed a $200 million negotiation with the State Land Department that allowed a 60.9 mile long natural gas pipeline beginning west of the Tucson Mountain Park to run south along State Highway 286 to the United States-Mexico border, mostly travelling through state trust land.

Cynthia Lummis

Past Jobs: Current Representative for Wyoming's at-large congressional district, serving since 2009

Lummis has penned and supported numerous bills that have affected natural resources. She introduced the Ranch A Consolidation and Management Improvement Act (H.R. 1684; 113th Congress), which would transfer 10 acres of federal lands to the state of Wyoming for use at the historic Ranch A. She supported the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act (H.R. 1526), which is a bill that would direct the United States Department of Agriculture to establish at least one Forest Reserve Revenue Area within each unit of the National Forest System designated for sustainable forest management for the production of national forest materials. Additionally, she supported the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act, which would require the federal government to defer to individual states about regulations governing hydraulic fracturing.

Harold Hamm

Past Jobs: Oil and gas entrepreneur (Hamm is currently the 39th richest person in the United States.)

Hamm took on the role of energy advisor during Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, and was credited in a report with being one of the oil and energy executives consulted during the formation of a plan to transfer permitting on Federal lands to the state where the land is located.

Sarah Palin

Past Jobs: Former Governor of Alaska

Palin signed a bill granting the State of Alaska to award TransCanada Pipelines a license to build and operate a natural gas pipeline from the Alaska North Slope to the continental United States through Canada in 2008. The year prior, Palin supported a policy from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to allow the hunting of wolves as part of a predator-control program to increase moose and caribou populations to support subsistence-food gatherers and other hunters.