Last night, The Hill reported that former Monsanto executive Aurelia Skipwith would be nominated to lead the Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). As FWS Director, she would be responsible for overseeing decisions affecting the nation’s fish and wildlife, as well as managing the National Wildlife Refuge System.
From 2006 to 2012, Ms. Skipwith worked at international GMO corporation Monsanto, most recently in their Corporate Affairs Department. Until her nomination, she had been working at Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
“If appointing a darling of corporate special interests to become the country’s top wildlife manager is what Secretary Zinke meant by ‘grand pivot to conservation,’ then it’s clear he was never serious to begin with,” said Chris Saeger, Executive Director of Western Values Project. “Ms. Skipwith’s nomination is business as usual for an administration that has sought to reward its allies at the expense of public lands and wildlife.”
Ms. Skipwith’s nomination as FWS Director also raises possible conflict of interest issues, given that FWS recently rescinded a ban on the use of genetically modified crops in national wildlife refuges, a decision that environmental groups are currently suing Interior over. According to her financial disclosure, Ms. Skipwith, after starting her work at the Interior Department, has “between $1,001 and $15,000” in shares in GMO corporate giant Monsanto, and also “between $50,001 and $100,000 in stocks” in AVC Global, the agricultural consulting firm she founded, and as such stands to benefit from the increased use of GMOs.
Ms. Skipwith will have to be confirmed by the Senate for the Fish and Wildlife Service Director position. As of yet, there is no date set for her hearing.
For more information, view Aurelia’s Skipwith’s complete profile on the Department of Influence.