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President Obama Drops Interior Department Nomination Of Rebecca Wodder After Opposition

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WASHINGTON -- Another presidential pick has fallen victim to the Senate's nomination process.

Rebecca Wodder, whose nomination by President Barack Obama as assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks was blocked in the last congressional session, will not be re-nominated this year, the Interior Department said. Interior spokesman Adam Fetcher said the decision was the result of the prolonged nomination process.

"Based on her extensive experience and expertise, the secretary has asked her to serve as a senior advisor, working primarily on conservation issues and the America's Great Outdoors initiative," Fetcher said.

An estimated 57 percent of Obama's nominees were approved in 2011. Wodder is among the handful whose nominations expired at the end of the congressional session who will not be re-nominated in the new session.

Wodder's nomination faced fierce opposition from Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) who took issue with her environmentalist views and what a spokesman referred to as her "nasty track record" on the natural gas drilling technique hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

When it was pointed out that Wodder's job wouldn't have purview over fracking, Inhofe spokesman Matt Dempsey responded: "She would be very involved in oil and gas ... and Sen. Inhofe has great concern with the 'Obama green team' doing away with gas and coal."

Inhofe, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and a longtime proponent of the oil and natural gas industry, welcomed the news.

"I am pleased that through our rigorous oversight, we succeeded in preventing Rebecca Wodder, another member of President Obama's job-destroying 'green team,' from assuming an influential position within the administration," Inhofe said in a statement Friday. "Ms. Wodder's former position as the CEO of a radical environmental organization and her comments displaying her staunch opposition to energy production, particularly hydraulic fracturing, made her an unacceptable candidate for assistant secretary."

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) had promised to to block her confirmation if the department didn't issue an extension of all drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Though her nomination had cleared the Environment and Public Works Committee, Wodder still faced at least one senator who was expected to put a hold on the nomination process, sources said.

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