It Keeps Getting Worse: Obama Nominates Superfund Polluter Lawyer To Run DOJ Environment Division

It Keeps Getting Worse: Obama Nominates Superfund Polluter Lawyer To Run DOJ Environment Division

by
Craig Brown

The Center for American Progress' Think Progress blog is reporting:

President Barack Obama has nominated a lawyer for the nation's
largest toxic polluters to run the enforcement of the nation's
environmental laws. On Tuesday, Obama "announced his intent to
nominate" Ignacia S. Moreno to be Assistant Attorney General for the Environment
and Natural Resources Division in the Department of Justice. Moreno,
general counsel for that department during the Clinton administration,
is now the corporate environmental counsel for General Electric, "America's #1 Superfund Polluter":

Number five in the Fortune 500 with revenues of $89.3 billion and earnings of $8.2 billion in 1997, General
Electric has been a leader in the effort to roll back the Superfund law
and stave off any requirements for full cleanup and restoration of
sites they helped create
.

This February, General Electric lost an eight-year battle
to "prove that parts of the Superfund law are unconstitutional." One of
the 600-person DOJ environmental division's "primary responsibilities
is to enforce federal civil and criminal environmental laws such as" the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Superfund.

Before General Electric, Moreno worked as a corporate attorney at
Spriggs and Hollingsworth. Moreno's name is found in the Westlaw
database as an attorney defending General Motors in another Superfund case, the GM Powertrain facility in Bedford, Indiana:

Historical uses and management of PCB containing
hydraulic oils and PCB impacted materials has contaminated on-site
areas as well as the sediment and floodplain soil within Bailey's
Branch and the Pleasant Run Creek watershed.

Although General Motors entered into an agreement
in 2001 with the EPA to clean up the site, a number of local residents
whose land has been contaminated by polychorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
have sued for damages in Allgood v. GM (now Barlow v. GM), in a contentious and caustic dispute over cleanup, monitoring, and lost property values.

During the Clinton administration, Moreno was involved in another
controversial case, unsuccessfully defending the Secretary of
Commerce's decision to weaken the dolphin-safe tuna standard. In Brower v. Daley,
Earth Island Institute, The Humane Society of the United States, and
other individuals and organizations brought suit against the United
States government for actions that were "arbitrary, capricious, an
abuse of discretion, and contrary to law," winning their case in 2000.

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