WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday nominated a former Monsanto executive to head the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Aurelia Skipwith joined the chemical manufacturer in 2006 as a lab technician and eventually worked her way up to a lobbying position.
Her lobbying work included seeking changes to the Endangered Species Act, “ag environment litigation,” mineral licensing and royalty issues, issues related to the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Superfund, conservation practices, mining permitting and acceptance, and phosphate mining according to Department of Influence, a group that monitors former lobbyists as they take jobs with the Interior Department.
Skipwith also workede for Alltech Inc. and AVC Global as co-founder and general counsel and then corporate counsel, respectively.
She has also previously worked in the public sector, working at the Agriculture Department in 2013.
Skipwith has spent the last year and a half as deputy assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, an agency overseen by the InteriorDepartment.
In a statement announcing her nomination, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke praised her as a “professional, a scientist and passionate conservationist.”
“She has helped lead some of my top priorities for getting more people to enjoy our public lands, like expanding access for hunting and fishing, recognizing Urban National Wildlife Refuges, and designating sites on the African American Civil Rights Network. I look forward to her speedy confirmation,” he said.
But Skipwith’s nomination is also being greeted with consteration.
The Center for Biodiversity on Tuesday said Skipwith’s lack of scientific background “breaks with decades of tradition from presidential administrations of both parties in that she has neither education nor experience in fisheries and wildlife management.”
“Aurelia Skipwith has been working in the Trump administration all along to end protections for billions of migratory birds, gut endangered species safeguards and eviscerate national monuments,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the conservation group. “Skipwith will always put the interests of her old boss Monsanto and other polluters ahead of America’s wildlife and help the most anti-environmental administration in history do even more damage.”
Before Skipwith assumes her new role in the administration, she has to be confirmed by the Senate. If she is confirmed she will replace Greg Sheehan, who was named as acting director by Zinke in June 2017.