Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. They laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work digging out the truth. Please support this independent journalism today by donating to our critical Fall Campaign. We cannot do it without you. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

Fire boats battle a fire at the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon on April 21, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images)

Fire boats battle a fire at the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon on April 21, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images)

'Revolving-Door Cronyism': Groups Line Up Against Fossil Fuel Lawyer for Interior

One environmental advocate said that industry-friendly attorney Tommy Beaudreau "has failed to stand up to the fossil fuel industry when it mattered most, and he'll likely fail again if confirmed to this critical position."

Kenny Stancil

A coalition of 30 environmental groups on Thursday urged U.S. senators to oppose attorney Tommy Beaudreau's nomination for deputy secretary of the Interior due to his extensive record of working on behalf of fossil fuel corporations.

"Beaudreau exemplifies the worst type of revolving-door cronyism, jumping back and forth between representing fossil fuel interests and working for the government."
—Brett Hartl, Center for Biological Diversity

"Tommy Beaudreau simply possesses too many conflicts of interests with the fossil fuel industry and a lackluster record within the Department of the Interior during the Obama administration to serve in such a critical role managing our nation's public lands and irreplaceable natural heritage, not to mention tackling the climate crisis that has been caused by the very industry that Mr. Beaudreau has represented for years."

So begins a letter (pdf) addressed to members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and written by organizations including the Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, and Revolving Door Project.

According to the coalition, "Beaudreau's financial disclosure report reveals numerous, deeply troubling conflicts of interests with the fossil fuel industry," which "stand in stark contrast to Secretary [Deb] Haaland's disclosure report."

After leaving the Obama administration, where he was the first director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management (BOEM) and later chief of staff to then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Beaudreau became a partner in the law firm Latham & Watkins.

While there, "he represented numerous coal-mining, oil and gas, pipeline development, and mining companies including: Arch Resources, Total, Beacon Offshore Energy, Epic Midstream, Unocal Pipeline, and BHP," the groups wrote.

"Beaudreau also appears to have done work for two Saudi Arabian companies—Red Sea Development and NEOM—the latter of which is connected to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman," the groups added. "Reports indicate that the NEOM megacity project will result in at least 20,000 members of the Huwaitat tribe being evicted from their land."

According to the coalition, Beaudreau's previous tenure in the Interior Department, which began shortly after the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, was also problematic.

"Eleven years ago, the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 oil workers and spewed more than 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for nearly three months, killing thousands of marine mammals, sea turtles, and birds," the groups wrote. As the BOEM director, Beaudreau was tasked with reforming offshore oil and gas drilling, "including the design and implementation of new regulations establishing standards for blowout preventers."

"Beaudreau is too cozy with the industry that is most responsible for the escalating climate crisis, and would likely undermine the president's stated goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030."
—Coalition letter

The coalition wrote that "Beaudreau failed to ensure that the strongest possible regulatory safeguards were implemented post-Deepwater Horizon."

"The rules failed to require the use of crucial safety technology such as blind shear rams on all blowout preventers by excluding them on existing floating drilling units and those currently under construction," the groups noted. "The administration even admitted the new rules did not make the blowout preventers completely fail-safe, and it provided the industry up to seven years to comply with many of the requirements."

In addition, the organizations wrote, Beaudreau "failed to adequately address systemic problems that led to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe." Although the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling "called for significant revisions" to the environmental review process, "meaningful changes never occurred" at the BOEM under Beaudreau, who instead "continued to rubber-stamp offshore drilling with no real review."

"Beaudreau is too cozy with the industry that is most responsible for the escalating climate crisis, and would likely undermine the president's stated goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030," the coalition wrote, adding: "his confirmation would greatly hinder the protections of our most cherished natural and cultural resources."

In a statement, Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said that "Beaudreau exemplifies the worst type of revolving-door cronyism, jumping back and forth between representing fossil fuel interests and working for the government."

"Beaudreau has failed to stand up to the fossil fuel industry when it mattered most, and he'll likely fail again if confirmed to this critical position," added Hartl.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Schumer Endorses 'Inspiring Community Leader' India Walton as Buffalo's Next Mayor

The U.S. Senate majority leader's move comes as some key New York Democrats refuse to back the democratic socialist.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Who Will You Throw Overboard?' Manchin Targeted for Trying to Sink Democratic Agenda

West Virginians gathered at the senator's yacht to demand that he stop blocking the "popular and needed" Build Back Better package.

Jessica Corbett ·


'We Shouldn't Do It at All': Manchin Admits He's the Enemy of Democrats' Ambitions

The right-wing West Virginia Democrat and fossil fuel investor has previously confessed his intent to quash his own party's sweeping $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package.

Brett Wilkins ·


After Getting 'Stealth Bailout' During Pandemic, US Corporations Try to Kill Proposed Tax Hikes

"When it's time to finally put workers first, big businesses are spending millions to maintain their advantage and preserve the status quo," said Kyle Herrig of Accountable.US.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Disgraceful': Just 9 Republicans Join With Dems to Hold Steve Bannon in Criminal Contempt

The vote "reveals just how far the Republican Party has fallen" since Trump took control as GOP's de facto leader, said one pro-democracy advocate.

Jon Queally ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo