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Senior Counsel, Immediate Office of the Secretary

James Voyles is serving as Senior Counsel, Immediate Office of the Secretary at the Department of the Interior. His “portfolio consists of regulatory oversight in energy and national infrastructure projects.” 

James Voyles, originally from Minnesota, attended Brigham Young University from 2008-2010. He then received a Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution from the University of Utah in 2011, received his JD from Syracuse University College of Lawand a Masters in New Media Management from Syracuse University’s SI Newhouse School of Public Communications in 2014.

According to his LinkedIn, in the summer of 2012, Voyles interned at the 13th Judicial Circuit for the State of Florida. Then, he interned at CITA in summer 2013, followed by a position as Legal/Communications Assistant at HBW Resources LLC from June 2013 through August 2014. Next he was an associate attorney Anelli Xavier where he “engaged in all aspects of criminal litigation.” After that he was an Adjunct Professor at Syracuse University from 2014 to 2015 before joining the Board of Advisors at Neep LLC, a “mobile app startup company.” Then, he was a Senior Director of Policy Counsel at HBW Resources, a consulting firm that has “close ties to Alberta’s tar sands industry.”  Most recently, he worked at Consumer Energy Alliance as Senior Director of Policy Counsel. While Consumer Energy Alliance describes itself as an organization “advocating for all types of energy consumers,” it has received support from BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Marathon, Shell, and Statoil, and has been described as an “astroturf” group.

Sources: [“Spring DCEx Program Concludes with Distinguished Guest Lecturer James Voyles L’14 from the Department of Interior,” Syracuse College of Law, 05/07/18, LinkedIn Profile for James Voyles, accessed 08/05/18; “About,” Consumer Energy Alliance, Consumer Energy Alliance, accessed 11/16/18; Geoff Dembicki, “Big Oil and Canada thwarted U.S. carbon standards,” Salon, 12/15/11]

Voyles’ start date with Interior is unclear. According to Interior’s “list of all political appointees,” Voyles’s effective date was January 8th, 2018. However, he appears in Interior calendars much earlier, showing up on many of the “Acting Assistant Secretaries” weekly meetings. A search for James Voyles on the Consumer Energy Alliance’s website results in stories where it appears he is still working for CEA though at least December 2017. [OS-18-00344ca, accessed 08/09/18, LinkedIn Profile for James Voyles, accessed 08/07/18, Todd Wynn October 2017 Calendar, accessed 08/09/18, David Bernhardt December 2017 Calendar, accessed 08/10/18, Search for James Voyles, Consumer Energy Alliance, accessed 08/10/18]

Special Interests

Chevron (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Voyles' father is senior counsel at multinational oil corporation Chevron.

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Coeur Mining, Inc. (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Voyles' father was previously Vice President of Environment and Community at mining company Coeur Mining Inc.

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Mosaic Company (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Voyles' father was previously a Director at the Mosaic Company, the world's largest supplier of phosphate and potash.

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ExxonMobil Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Voyles' father was previously a Counsel at multinational oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil.

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Background Information

Previous Employers

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Voyles’ former employer, Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), was created by another employer of his, HBW Resources. CEA has  been an “outspoken critic” of low carbon fuel standard legislation.

James Voyles’ former employer Consumer Energy Alliance was created by HBW Resources, another one of Voyles’s former employers. Both organizations share multiple officials in common, including Michael Whatley, who is Partner at HBW Resources and Executive Vice President at CEA, Andrew Browning, who is Partner at HBW Resources and COO at CEA and David Holt, who is Managing Partner at HBW Resources and President at CEA. [Geoff, Dembicki, “Big Oil and Canada thwarted U.S. carbon standards,” Salon, 12/15/11, Bios Leadership – Managing Partner, HBW Resources, accessed 08/07/18, Bios Leadership, HBW Resources, accessed 08/07/18]

Whatley’s work included serving “as attorney and senior policy advisor on George W. Bush’s first presidential campaign and transition team.” He would later serve chief of staff to Senator Elizabeth Dole. He and HBW Resources would develop close ties to Alberta’s tar sands oil industry, and would become concerned about the effects of adopting a low carbon fuel standard in the United States. To counteract this, Whatley would propose using groups such as trade associations, railroads and other groups reliant on oil to contact key governmental figures. This would be complimented by “engaging with seven prominent think tanks, two of which, the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, received millions of dollars in funding from Koch Industries to question the science behind global warming.”

Geoff, Dembicki, “Big Oil and Canada thwarted U.S. carbon standards,” Salon, 12/15/11 “About Consumer Energy Alliance,” Consumer Energy Alliance, accessed 08/07/18, “Members,” Consumer Energy Alliance, accessed 08/07/18]

While Consumer Energy Alliance describes itself as an organization “advocating for all types of energy consumers,” it has received support from BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Marathon, Shell, and Statoil, and has been described as an “astroturf” group. CEA has “been one of the most outspoken critics of low carbon fuel standard legislation.”  [“About,” Consumer Energy Alliance, accessed 11/16/18; Geoff Dembicki, “Big Oil and Canada thwarted U.S. carbon standards,” Salon, 12/15/11]

Other Information

Voyles’ father goes by James K. Voyles. The senior Voyles is currently Senior Counsel at Chevron, was previously Vice President of Environment and Community at Coeur Mining, Director of Environmental Affairs at The Mosiac Company, Senior Corporate and Environmental Counsel at The Mosiac Company and Counsel at ExxonMobil. [James K. Voyles Facebook photos, accessed 08/09/18, James K. Voyles Facebook Profile, accessed 09/09/18, LinkedIn Profile for Jim Voyles, accessed 08/09/18]