House Natural Resources Committee Taps Disgraced Bush Official and Industry Lobbyist to Testify on Lands Policy
"House Natural Resources Committee Taps Disgraced Bush Official and Industry Lobbyist to Testify on Lands Policy"
Newly-empowered House Republicans are once again pushing for Bush-era runaway energy development on the West’s public lands under the guise of “vigorous oversight” of the Obama administration’s public lands policy.
The House Natural Resources Committee will today hold a hearing into a long-overdue December decision by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to finally exorcise one of the most damaging legacies of disgraced former Bush Interior Secretary-turned-Big Oil executive Gale Norton. Republicans, including Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), have been apoplectic about Salazar’s decision to return to Reagan-era wild lands policies. Continuing a trend of letting industry lobbyists set their agenda, the Republicans on the Natural Resources Committee have called lobbyist William G. Myers III to testify today.
Myers has been a registered lobbyist for several energy and mining concerns, as well as other anti-regulatory groups like the Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Public Lands Council, and the National Association of Manufacturers. Myers, however, is perhaps best known for being a failed George W. Bush judicial nominee and the subject of an Inspector General’s rebuke for his Bush-era service as the Interior Department’s solicitor.
At the time of his nomination for a seat on the Ninth Circuit Court Appeals — a circuit that hears many important environmental cases — Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called his radical anti-environmental views “off the deep end.” While Myers had no experience as a judge or courtroom advocate, he did have one key qualification: his multi-million dollar lobbying campaign for coal producers in former Vice President Dick Cheney’s home state of Wyoming that would have allowed them to gain near-monopoly over one of the world’s largest coal supplies. (The coal merger he advocated for was subsequently overturned by the Federal Trade Commission on a 4-1 vote after an investigation.)
After a bipartisan group of Senators blocked Myers’ nomination, he became the first judicial nominee in history to withdraw because of his anti-environmental views. In addition to his stridently anti-environmental views, Myers was also known to have strongly anti-gay, anti-choice, and even anti-birth control views.
Tapping Myers to testify is yet another sign that House Republicans will stop at nothing short of a full return to the misguided and destructive lands and energy development policies of the Bush administration — policies that would benefit a few special interests and their lobbyists at the expense of local communities throughout the West.