Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, July 19, 2017

Contact:        Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121,

Susan Combs Widely Opposed for High-level Interior Department Post

Disastrous Nominee Is Longtime Opponent of Protecting Endangered Species

WASHINGTON— More than 70 conservation organizations sent a letter today to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee opposing President Trump's nomination of Susan Combs as the Department of the Interior's assistant secretary for policy, management and budget. 

“Ms. Combs should not be placed in such a pivotal and important position in a department whose mission she clearly does not believe in,” states the letter, which was signed by groups ranging from Public Citizen to the California Native Plant Society.

“Combs' disturbing record shows she's an anti-wildlife zealot who fundamentally rejects Interior's conservation mission,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, which signed the letter. “If confirmed, Combs would likely try to block safeguards for the American wolverine, lesser prairie chicken and hundreds more species that have often been waiting decades for life-saving protections. It seems like the only real job requirement for the Trump administration is to be ideologically opposed to the agency for which you have been selected.”

As Texas State Comptroller, Combs wrested control of the state's endangered species program from the Department of Parks and Wildlife to her office, which manages state fiscal and tax matters and did not have a single biologist. She then used her authority to fight endangered species protections for numerous species, including the dunes sagebrush lizard, golden-cheeked warbler and lesser prairie chicken, all at the behest of the oil and gas industry and other special interests.

Today's letter notes that since leaving the Comptroller's office in 2014, Combs has continued to oppose protections for endangered species. She used her leftover campaign money to help fund a petition to end federal protections for one of Texas' most spectacular endangered species, the golden-cheeked warbler, which requires large, intact stands of ash-juniper trees in order to breed.

“Combs has been a true enemy of endangered species in Texas, and she'll bring that same philosophy to Washington D.C. and do real damage to endangered species everywhere,” said Hartl.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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