Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, January 19, 2017

Contact: Randi Spivak, (310) 779-4894

Sonny Perdue Picked as Trump's Choice for Agriculture Secretary

TUCSON, Ariz.— Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has reportedly been picked by Donald Trump to serve as secretary of agriculture, a job that oversees the agricultural sector, the U.S. Forest Service, the wildlife-killing program known as Wildlife Services as well as food safety and dietary guidelines.

“The nation's magnificent national forests, from the temperate rainforests of Alaska to the southwestern pine forests to the Appalachians in the south, and the wildlife that call them home, need someone at the U.S. Department of Agriculture who understands their intrinsic value, not someone who simply sees things in terms of commodities and profits,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Many forests in Georgia are industrial tree plantations. That model would be a disaster for our national forests.”

As governor, Perdue enacted measures that undermined minimum-wage workers and immigrant families while failing to deal with pressing environmental issues in the state. Among the key issues Perdue would be dealing with at the USDA are the steep costs of industrial animal agriculture and the dangers of pesticides.

“Americans are increasingly demonstrating that they don't want their tax dollars propping up unsustainable industrial operations that support genetically altered crops and poison our wildlife, landscapes and communities with millions of pounds of pesticides and trillions of pounds of toxic animal waste,” Suckling said.

The next agriculture secretary will also be faced with decisions over the climate crisis, including whether to allow the expansion of oil and gas drilling on national forests.

“We need an agriculture secretary who can stand up to industry and protect our air, water and the endangered species that depend on a healthy planet,” Suckling said. “Sonny Perdue, like Trump's other cabinet picks, has shown he's more likely to make decisions that benefit corporations and profiteers rather than the American people and the future of our planet.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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