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Policy: Environment & Energy

Examiner Editorial: Senate Democrats set to confirm zealous foe of fossil fuels

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Opinion,Editorial,Senate,Interior,Energy and Environment,National Park Service,Mary Landrieu,Washington Examiner

Rhea Suh is living the sweetest dream of every radical environmental activist toiling in the trenches of Big Green’s war against fossil fuels. Suh has received a fat salary and extremely generous benefits since 2009 as assistant secretary for policy, management and budget for the Department of the Interior. In that position, she helped shape every major Interior Department policy, including the infamous Gulf of Mexico drilling moratorium that was twice rejected by the federal courts. Before that, she was a member of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, which represents 200 major environmental groups that are devoted to halting development of U.S. natural resources, especially in the western states. At the EGA, she absorbed the movements' major ideological obsessions by helping fund them, which was the perfect preparation for the budget and policy job at Interior.

Suh's dream is about to become even sweeter because she will soon step into a new job that will make her one of Big Green's most powerful Washington players, thanks to her appointment by President Obama as assistant secretary of the Interior for fish, wildlife and parks. Her nomination was approved Thursday by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on a 12-10 party line vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will see to it that Suh is confirmed, even if it ultimately costs Democrats control of the Senate. The energy committee's new chairman, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., made Suh the first Obama appointee to be approved under her leadership. Louisiana's pro-oil and -gas electorate may give her reason to regret that come November.

The new job will put Suh in control of two of the federal government's most environmentally powerful and aggressive agencies.

As Washington Examiner columnist Ron Arnold warned last October when her nomination by Obama was announced, the new job will put Suh in control of two of the federal government's most environmentally powerful and aggressive agencies, the Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Park Service. “Those two large agencies have a track record of appalling behavior that ranges from massively coercing private property away from thousands of owners, to faking science for new regulations, to cozy sue-and-settle lawsuits with not-so-former green group colleagues,” Arnold wrote in an Oct. 13 column on her nomination.

Suh's radical views are especially hostile to fossil fuels like oil, natural gas and coal, which are used to generate most of the electrical power on which the U.S. economy depends. In a 2007 article, Suh called natural gas development “easily the single greatest threat to the ecological integrity of the West,” Arnold reported in a Dec. 14 column. Will she use her new powers to stop natural gas development? She now claims to support natural gas, but last year, while keynoting EGA's 25th anniversary celebration, she said, “I look forward to working with you, my colleagues, mentors and friends, to utilize the skills and talents of the EGA community to advance a more resilient world and a resilient movement.” Those are the words of an ideological fellow-traveler determined to make full use of the government to advance the Big Green agenda.

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