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Commentaries and editorials

Obama is Packing the Government
with Big Green Ideologues

by Ron Arnold
Washington Examiner, June 16, 2011

President Obama has packed his Cabinet agencies with left-wing ideologues, just like President Roosevelt tried with his 1937 "Supreme Court packing bill." Roosevelt failed, but Obama is still at it.

Now it's Rebecca Wodder, former Wilderness Society official and current chief executive officer of Big Green's dam-killing, water-grabbing, natural gas enemy, American Rivers Inc. ($12.1 million 2010 revenue), who is Obama's nominee for assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks for the Department of the Interior.

The "assistant" in that job title doesn't mean just some office flunky, it's arguably the most powerful office in the Interior Department, second only to Secretary Ken Salazar.

Wodder would be boss of the National Park Service ($2.9 billion budget, 21,000 employees, 84.4 million acres) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ($2.7 billion budget, 7,900 employees, 96.2 million acres).

It's not a job, it's an empire. So it's not hard to see why Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, ranking Republican member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has serious reservations about her nomination.

Last week, Inhofe said in a press release that Wodder campaigned for the so-called Clean Water Restoration Act, which would have imposed federal control over all bodies of water in the country, down to the fish pond in your neighbor's back yard.

Internal Revenue Service records show that Wodder's group got millions, including $750,000 from the Hewlett Foundation, to remove hydropower dams, weakening America's power grid.

She's also a rabid opponent of natural gas hydraulic fracturing, unlike her predecessor, Tom Strickland, who said we should actively and aggressively develop our energy resources.

Wodder may be a one-woman double-dip recession, but Obama's other Big Green nominee awaiting Senate confirmation is worse: John E. Bryson, former head of Edison International, parent company of Southern California Edison.

Bryson has been criticized for all the wrong reasons. He was co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council in 1970, and one of its first attorneys to file mountains of lawsuits against industry.

He was just out of Yale Law School, filing suits over pesticides, smog and other fashionable issue-of-the-month cases. He got tired of that after six years, went into California Gov. Jerry Brown's first administration, and then into public utilities.

Obama's brief nomination announcement late last month recited Bryson's electric utility credentials and said the former executive would "add a business outlook to his inner circle."

But Bryson's resume neglected to mention that in August 2008, he joined the global private equities firm that pioneered Gordon Gekko-style leveraged buyouts, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, as a senior adviser.

And we missed the press release from two months earlier -- coincidence, no doubt -- that said, "Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Environmental Defense Fund Announce First-of-Its-Kind 'Green Portfolio' Partnership."

EDF earlier gave cover to KKR in the $45 billion acquisition of TXU, a Texas utility, the largest leveraged buyout in history, in return for promises to cut coal-fired plants out of the picture.

In a Washington Examiner special report in 2010, I exposed EDF's virtual ownership of the Commerce Department agency, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the long EDF ties of NOAA chief administrator Jane Lubchenco, and EDF's stranglehold on NOAA's disastrous "catch shares" regulation of America's fisheries.

The catch-share program now haunts them. A Senate subcommittee has set a hearing on catch-share scandals for next Monday in Boston, but Lubchenco won't be there -- she refused to testify. Neither will Fred Krupp, EDF's $407,000-a-year president -- he, too, refused to testify.

Now we have an EDF co-conspirator nominated as secretary of commerce. Best to let Bryson take the Lubchenco/Krupp way out and not testify -- but in his case, for lack of a confirmation hearing.

Related Sites:
Idaho Water Users Association Opposition to Nomination of Wodder

Ron Arnold
Obama is Packing the Government with Big Green Ideologues
Washington Examiner, June 16, 2011

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