Obama’s pick for DOI job won’t face Senate again


Sen. James Inhofe was among the senators opposed to the nomination of Rebecca Wodder. (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)

Rebecca Wodder, who faced stiff opposition in the Senate after President Obama selected her for a high-level spot at the Department of the Interior, will not be re-nominated this year, the Interior Department said Friday.

Wodder’s contentious nomination had expired — along with a slate of other Obama nominees — at the end of the last congressional session. The Interior Department Friday announced that Wodder asked the White House not to restart the nomination process this year. “As a result of the prolonged nomination process, Rebecca Wodder has asked the President that she not be re-nominated,” an Interior Department spokesman said.

Wodder will instead serve as a senior advisor to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

One of her chief critics, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Friday cheered the move. In a statement, Inhofe, the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works panel, called her a “member of President Obama’s job-destroying ‘green team.’”

“Had she been confirmed, she would have had influence over decisions that greatly affect oil and gas development, and this would have been particularly bad for my home state of Oklahoma,” Inhofe said.

Wodder, who was up for the job of Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, had drawn fire from lawmakers of both parties, particularly for her statements on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

She had cleared the Environment and Public Works Committee, but she faced other hurdles in committee — and it was all but certain that at least one senator would have placed a hold on her nomination that would have prevented a Senate vote.

Amy Kober, a spokeswoman for American Rivers, an organization that Wodder led for 15 years, blamed a “supercharged partisan atmosphere”on Capitol Hill for the failure of the nomination.

“Rebecca is in­cred­ibly qualified — she has a history of bipartisan work, particularly on the economic benefits of river conservation,” she said.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.

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