Nominee for Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service
On October 22, 2018, Aurelia Skipwith was nominated to be the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service. She was previously serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Her original nomination died at the end of the previous Congress, but she was renominated for the same position on July 17, 2019.
Aurelia Skipwith began her career working for multinational corporation Monsanto, where she “worked her way up from a lab technician to sustainable agriculture partnership manager.” When Skipwith left Monsanto, she briefly worked as a research and legal intern at the United States Department of Agriculture, and next worked as an intellectual property consultant for USAID. From August 2015 to August 2016, Skipwith worked for Alltech, a “global animal nutrition provider” that also runs one of the largest algae production systems in the world. In April 2016, Skipwith co-founded “agricultural consulting firm AVC Global,” where she worked as General Counsel.
Sources: [Timothy Cama and Michael Burke, “Trump to nominate former Monsanto exec to top Interior position,” The Hill, 10/22/18, Corbin Hiar, “Hill staffer, former Monsanto official picked for key posts,” Energy & Environment, 04/06/17, Michael Doyle, Skipwith gets nod again for FWS post, E&E News, 07/17/19, Kelsey Tamborrino, Nancy Cook, and Maggie Severns, “Five big developments in Trumpworld this week — Senate confirms Gorsuch — Raft of new hires,” Politico, 04/07/17, LinkedIn Profile for Aurelia Skipwith, accessed 07/17/17, Luke Geiver, “Alltech opens premiere algae fermentation facility,” Biodiesel Magazine, 03/02/11, and “Allgae are the Base of the Food Chain,” Alltech, accessed 07/17/17]
Monsanto (Resource Development on Public Lands)
Skipwith worked at Monsanto, a multinational corporation that provides agricultural products for farmers worldwide. While Skipwith worked there, Monsanto lobbied the Interior Department on a variety of issues.
also connected to:
Independent Petroleum Association of America (Resource Development on Public Lands)
Skipwith spoke at the Independent Petroleum Association of America's Regulators' Forum on October 17, 2017.
also connected to:
Additional Background on Employers of Note:
From 2006 to 2012 Aurelia Skipwith worked at Monsanto, a company that “provides agricultural products for farmers worldwide.”
While Skipwith worked there, Monsanto lobbied the Department of the Interior, Congress, and other federal agencies on 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.
[“Company Overview of Monsanto Company,” Bloomberg, accessed 08/17/17, LinkedIn Profile for Aurelia Skipwith, accessed 07/17/17, “Monsanto Company 2008 First Quarter Report,” United States Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 07/17/17, “Monsanto Company 2008 Third Quarter Report,” United States Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 07/17/17, “Monsanto Company 2009 Fourth Quarter Report,” United States Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 07/17/17, “Monsanto Company 2009 Second Quarter Report,” United States Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 07/17/17]
Aurelia Skipwith, after starting her work at the Interior Department, “kept between $50,001 and $100,000 in stocks” in AVC Global, the agricultural consulting firm she founded, and also has “between $1,001 and $15,000 in Monsanto shares.”
[Catherine Bourdeau, “Silence on Cuba export bill is telling,” Politico, 05/31/17]
Aurelia Skipwith, in 2012, won a “Monsanto Sustainable Yield Pledge Award” for her “positive impacts in science, agriculture and [her] communit[y].”
[Vicky Hartzler, “Honoring Monsanto Employees,” Congressional Record, 05/31/12]
In July 2017, Skipwith sent memos to the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requesting they review rules that “prevent hunters from killing bears and wolves using techniques many people consider extreme: baiting the animals with greasy doughnuts, ambushing mothers with pups in dens and shooting animals from boats while the bears are swimming” to allow Alaska to manage predators of moose and caribou populations for the benefit of hunters.
[Darryl Fears, “Interior to review rules against killing bear cubs and wolf pups with their mothers,” Washington Post, 07/21/17]
In August 2017, Skipwith called “for killing healthy horses and burros to rein in runaway costs associated with managing growing wild herds roaming the West’s public rangelands.”
Brian Maffly, “A top interior official calls for ending bans on selling, euthanizing wild horses,” The Salt Lake Tribune, 08/23/17]
In response to a coal industry request to repeal an Obama-era rule intended to crack down on water pollution from coal mining, Skipwith wrote in an email that regional Fish and Wildlife staff were “stonewalling” coal companies.
[Dylan Brown, “Trump appointees chose coal over crawfish,” E&E News, 05/15/19]
Twenty-Seven Former Fish And Wildlife Service Employees Voiced Their Opposition To The Nomination Of Aurelia Skipwith’s Nomination To Head The Agency: “Twenty-seven former Fish and Wildlife Service employees today united in opposition to the nomination of Aurelia Skipwith as the agency’s next director. Joined by Russell Galipeau, former superintendent of Channel Islands National Park, the former FWS staffers cited their combined 665.5 years of federal government experience in urging the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to reject Skipwith. ‘Ms. Skipwith lacks the training and experience necessary for this position,” the former employees wrote. “Her background consists largely of serving as a consultant or attorney dealing with non-wildlife and non-conservation issues.’ The former employees added that Skipwith’s ‘job history includes potential conflicts of interest which raise serious questions about her ability to act in the public interest.’ Christopher Nagano, a former deputy assistant field supervisor in the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sacramento field office, helped coordinate the letter. It was sent one day prior to Skipwith’s scheduled confirmation hearing (E&E Daily, Sept. 9).” Skipwith has been serving as the Interior Department’s deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks. [E&E News, 09/10/19]
Prior to Skipwith’s confirmation hearing, Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Senator Carper sent Skipwith a letter asking for answers concerning the nature of her activities on behalf of a former employer. She refused to answer the letter and was not forthright at her confirmation hearing, instead telling Carper to file a Freedom of Information Act request to get the answers he wanted. The Golden Gate Salmon Association and all Democrats on the Committee opposed her nomination. [Senate Environment and Public Works Committee]