Trump might appoint an oil executive and anti-animal rights activist to head Interior Department
Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Politico reports that Forrest Lucas, cofounder of Lucas Oil, “is a leading contender for Interior secretary should Donald Trump win the White House.”

Lucas’ company makes motor oil and similar products. Environmentalists worry he would push to open more public lands and offshore areas to oil and gas drilling. The Interior Department manages public lands across the U.S.

But Lucas is more than just your average oil baron: He’s also aggressively opposed to animal rights. “Earlier this year, Lucas financed and produced a feature film called ‘The Dog Lover,’ which portrays dog breeders and puppy mills as being unfairly targeted by animal rights groups,” Politico notes. “Roger Ebert’s website called the movie ‘shamelessly manipulative’ and ‘a pretty bald piece of anti-[Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] and/or PETA propaganda.’” So animal advocates and conservationists are concerned about Lucas’ potential nomination too, as the Interior Department is charged with protecting endangered species and overseeing wildlife refuges.

If Trump named Lucas to run Interior, it would be like raising his short middle finger to the animal rights community. Lucas would, however, be a natural complement to Trump’s rumored top choice for energy secretary: oil and gas tycoon Harold Hamm.

By Ben Adler, Grist