She's compared endangered species to "incoming scud missiles" and now she's directly in charge of the very agency tasked with protecting endangered species. Here's some background on her work in Texas:https://t.co/PPHdG3JLvchttps://t.co/EAR5JmUodl https://t.co/ehwfloLQI0— Naveena Sadasivam (@NaveenaSivam) March 30, 2018
The Trump administration has decided that the person best suited to guide the policy on environment and endangered species is a person who has propped up her entire career advocating for the deaths of endangered species so private companies can pump even more oil out of the land they live on.
Susan Combs, a former State representative and Texas’s first female agricultural commissioner, has been appointed to a key position in the Trump administration.
She will now oversee policy for the wildlife agency and national parks. Combs will be serving as acting assistant secretary for fish, wildlife, parks and will guide policy decisions at both the Fish and Wildlife Services, one of the two federal agencies administering the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
ESA, signed in 1973, is among the strongest of America’s conservation laws, and protects endangered species and their abode. Combs once likened ESA to a “Scuds missile” that will destruct the oil and gas-rich Texan economy.
Combs has a long history of battling with conservationists.
In 1990, she rallied for a legislation that prohibited state wildlife officials from gathering endangered species data from private lands without permission. The legislation also tried to restrict the amount of information the state shared with the Fish and Wildlife Services.
In 2011, as Texas comptroller, she fought to keep the dune sagebrush lizard, a specie native to West Texas and southeastern Mexico, off the endangered species list. She won and protected the interests of her clients’ fossil fuel interests.
In 2015, after her retirement, she led three groups and petitioned to have state protection removed from the golden-cheeked warbler. In her arguments, she cited studies that said the warbler was not endangered. Her recommendations were ultimately rejected.
Her appointment at this point seems temporary. In July, she was nominated as Trump’s assistant secretary Interior Department’s Office of Policy, Management and Budget. However, 70 conservation groups wrote to the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee and urged members to reject her confirmation.
After her confirmation was stalled, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke gave her a new appointment instead.
Environmentalists are alarmed at this latest development. As Stephanie Kurose, endangered species specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity, puts it, the appointment is like “appointing an arsonist as the town fire marshal.”
Spotlight, Banner: Reuters, Jonathan Ernst