There is not a single encouraging word when it comes to the sort of people president-elect Trump may appoint to fill Cabinet positions, especially the ones that will impact the safety of America’s horses.
We list the Departments that historically look to have the most obvious impact on wild and domestic horse issues.
ENERGY (Wild Horses — Fracking — Public Lands)
Reuters reported in July that Trump was considering nominating fracking billionaire Harold Hamm to run the Energy Department.
Trump made no effort to deny that report, and he bragged about his friendship with Hamm at a press conference a few days later. “These other companies, they go out and spend millions of dollars looking for oil,” Trump said. “That guy takes a straw, puts it in the ground, and oil pours out of it. That’s the kind of a guy we want telling us about energy.”
Hamm called on Trump to slash regulations on oil and gas drilling, claiming the government is impeding energy production (even though the United States is producing oil and gas at record levels). At the Republican convention, Hamm declared, “Climate change isn’t our biggest problem. It’s Islamic terrorism.”
Last year, according to Bloomberg, Hamm told the University of Oklahoma dean he wanted the school to fire scientists who were exploring connections between oil and gas activity and the state’s tremendous increase in earthquakes. (via Mother Jones)
A Hamm appointment would “make him the first oil executive in the cabinet seat,” according to FuelFix.com.
The energy investment banking firm Tudor Pickering Holt suggested that “Maybe the Environmental Protection Agency will use the Endangered Species Act to block development less frequently than prior administrations.” (Source)
AGRICULTURE (Horse Slaughter — All Horses)
Biofuels baron Bruce Rastetter, a member of Trump’s agriculture advisory council and a big-time Republican donor, has been rumored to be on the shortlist, in part because of his close relationship with Christie. That’d be a Christmas gift for the ethanol lobby.
Politico reported that the list of candidates for the job also includes Texas Agriculture Secretary Sid Miller, who famously called Hillary Clinton a “cunt” on Twitter during the presidential race.
Miller, who was embroiled in an ethics scandal back in Texas for using taxpayer dollars to compete in a rodeo, has aggressively pushed junk food in public schools and went so far as to grant “amnesty” to a cupcake. (via Mother Jones)
INTERIOR (Wild Horses — Bureau of Land Management, Wild Horse & Burro Program)
Politico reported in September that Lucas Oil founder Forrest Lucas is the front-runner to head the federal agency that oversees national parks and Indian affairs.
Lucas, a major Republican donor, has in recent years thrown his money behind efforts to block state legislation designed to crack down on abusive puppy mills. Picking an oil-industry executive to manage public lands—and one of the department that’s most aggressively fighting climate change—would send a clear signal about Trump’s priorities.
The dark horse, though, is Donald Trump Jr., who told Petersen’s Hunting that he would make a good interior secretary because he likes to hunt. “I can make a difference,” he said, “and I could do something to preserve the great traditions of the outdoors that are so vital to this country, and would be so vital to our youth, that have been shunned by the media and stigmatized in so many ways.”
In 2015, Trump suggested that Sarah Palin would make an effective Cabinet secretary. Palin has said she would like to run the Department of Energy, but according to Politico, Interior might be her best bet. If so, get ready to hear the phrase “Drill, Baby, Drill” again.
Interior is the department where Trump is most likely to hire a woman. Former Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin are also under consideration, according to BuzzFeed. (via Mother Jones)
WHAT YOU CAN DO
There are two dynamics at play here.
1. A Republican presidency with a strong Republican Congress means little to no help for animals at the federal level. Historically, they will likely try to reverse or derail as many animal protections as they can. We will need to appeal to the States.
2. Trump continually says he is going to hand power back to the States (only where this suits him of course).
Steps You Can Take Now
1. Begin finding out who represents you at the State level.
2. Research where they stand on animal issues, in particular horse issues. If you can’t find anything on the internet, then call their office and ask. They may have a formal policy. Ask for a copy of it.
3. Get to know your State legislators.
• Find out where you can meet them.
• Sign up for their newsletter.
• If they have a speaking engagement in your area, attend it no matter what the topic. Join the meet and greet line if they have one and let him or her know what’s on your mind concerning horse issues.
• Go to your State Legislature’s website and follow your State Representative and Senator (sometimes called Assemblymen or woman).
4. Get to know your Governor.
• Rinse and repeat what you did for your State legislators.