Mike the Mad Biologist

…never mind believe in. Obama can do much better than former Clinton official and current corporate lobbyist David Hayes for Secretary of Interior. As a lobbyist for Ford, Hayes chose to side with Ford over a poor Native American community:

Trying to stick the cost of the clean-up of a toxic waste dump on a rural, economically disadvantaged American Indian community is not the kind of behavior one would want to see from a potential Secretary of the Interior. The Ringwood superfund site is a little-known American tragedy and David J. Hayes, as recently as 2007, was trying to get the polluter off the financial hook.

Then there’s Hayes’ record during the Clinton Administration:

…the three biggest oil and gas bonanzas attributed to the rapacity of the Bush regime – the Alaska petroleum reserve, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Powder River – were all initiated by the Clinton administration.

One more note on David Hayes. Before joining the Clinton team, Hayes served as the chairman of the Environmental Law Institute, a DC green group. But this was only a part-time position. His day job was as a lawyer/lobbyist at the DC firm of Latham and Watkins, which represents a plump roster of corporations seeking to plunder the very lands as deputy secretary of Interior he would be charged with protecting. After leaving the Clinton administration, Hayes navigated a soft landing back on his old roost at Latham and Watkins. How is this any different from the lucrative migrations of the hated Steven Griles, who traveled from the Reagan administration to an oil lobby shop to the Bush II administration?

The revolving door spins for all.

Lobbyists have enough influence on environmental policy as it is–we don’t need to appoint them to the fucking Cabinet. And I don’t want to hear about how in an Obama administration he’ll be magically transformed into a friend of the environment. He wasn’t during the Clinton administration. If he wanted to remain involved in politics as a lobbyist, he could have lobbied for pro-environment groups.

Of course, they pay much less. If he wants to make lots of money, that’s alright (it’s his conscience, not mine). But ethical people don’t do unethical things over and over again (and by ethical, I set the bar higher than ‘conviction overturned on appeal’). Obama ran, in part, on setting higher ethical standards. Hayes is a betrayal of that promise.

One other thing. It’s funny how Hayes heads the transition team to choose enviromental-related positions…and then decides, after much consideration no doubt, that he is the best candidate for the position.

Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah.

Comments

  1. #1 df
    December 15, 2008

    Contact the Obama transition team and let them know how you feel about this and other issues. We should also demand that Obama ban any member of a selection committee or transition team from being nominated or selected for any positions under their consideration.

  2. #2 Charles Knight
    March 17, 2009

    Actually, David Hayes is a good guy. I’ve never worked for a law firm. I’ve worked as an environmental lawyer for over 38 years (California Attorney General’s environmental enforcement unit for 6 years, Jimmy Carter’s Council on Environmental Quality 4 years, and as Chief Environmental Counsel for Digital Equipment Corporation for 12 years, and as an environmental management consultant during the past 12 years supporting environmental management “get well” programs for small and medium businesses mostly in Latin America (funded by the InterAmerican Development Bank, the Worl Bank and US AID).

    I knew David quite well during the 1980s and early 90s. He was my outside counsel while I was at Digital Equipment Corporation for part of the time. He is a terrific lawyer and (despite his representing companies) always showed a good “preventive” sense. ie. don’t just go out and sue the government if you’re unhappy with an environmental law; figure out a way to avoid litigation and straighten out your not so impeccable environmental management.

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