An enemy of the Everglades and endangered species returns to the Interior Department

Credit: IISD Reporting Services

The Trump administration has named yet another industry-friendly political appointee to an environmental agency: Todd Willens, who joined the U.S. Department of the Interior earlier this month as an assistant deputy secretary. His name should ring alarm bells. During his previous stint in the same role within the George W. Bush administration, Willens orchestrated the removal of Everglades National Park from the United Nations’ list of endangered World Heritage Sites. Fortunately, the park was reinstated in 2010. Willens then spent six years as the chief of staff to Representative Steve Pearce, a Republican from New Mexico, who earned a shameful 0 percent rating last year from the League of Conservation Voters. Earlier in his career, Willens was the legislative director to former congressman Richard Pombo, who spent years attacking the Endangered Species Act. In the private sector, some of Willens’ lowlights include his time with the owner of the late Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, lobbying against animal welfare protections.

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