Muckraker: Grist on Politics

Clinton-era deputy interior secretary David Hayes has been tapped to reprise that role in the Obama administration, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced on Thursday. Hayes led Obama’s transition efforts for the Interior Department as well as the EPA, USDA, and the Energy Department.

Hayes is a partner at the law firm and lobby shop Latham & Watkins, where he is the “global chair” of the Environment, Land & Resources Department. From that post, he lobbied on behalf of Sempra Energy in 2006.

He is currently a senior fellow at the World Wildlife Fund, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and vice chair of the board at American Rivers. Hayes has also served as chair of the board of the Environmental Law Institute.

In other Interior news, Salazar met with department employees on Thursday to talk about his plans for the agency. “We will ensure Interior Department decisions are based on sound science and the public interest and not special interests,” he said.

“This department has suffered because of ethical lapses and criminal activity at the highest level,” Salazar continued. “There has been a picture of the department that has been painted unfairly on the backs of career employees because of actions by political appointees … and that era is now changing and it starts today. We will hold people accountable … and not tolerate these kind of lapses.” Interior employees applauded approvingly.

Salazar also gave a shout-out to the coal industry in his remarks, noting that while addressing climate change is important, “we cannot move forward by turning off the lights and turning off coal-burning power plants.”

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that just-departed Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne gave a farewell presentation to staffers last week featuring roughly 600 slides of himself in national parks and other locales. “Slide after slide after slide,” said an Interior employee. “It was special. That’s all I should say.”