The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Bill Boteler (202) 265-7337

Cheney Aide Finally Leaving Interior Department

Hoffman Tenure Marked by Failed Park Policy Rewrite and Reversals of Scientists


aul Hoffman, a former Dick Cheney aide with a ham-handed approach,
is resigning today from his post as Deputy Assistant Interior
Secretary, according to a farewell e-mail posted by Public Employees
for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). His departure closes a stormy
chapter in the Bush administration's attempt to leave its imprint on
the National Park Service and other resource agencies.

Prior to his Interior appointment, Hoffman had led the Cody
(Wyoming) Chamber of Commerce and served as an aide to then-U.S.
Representative Dick Cheney. During the first Bush term, Hoffman was the
principal political operative on national park issues. In that
position, he created such a firestorm of criticism that he was moved to
an administrative slot. Hoffman's parting message was typically acerbic:

"I can attest to the fact that Interior gets in your blood, but I can also say that it does not necessarily turn it green."

Hoffman sparked a furor by trying to rewrite all Park Service
management policies to subordinate the parks' conservation mission to
"enjoyment" by the public, a stance that promoted human intrusions from
snowmobiles to hunting. In his draft, Hoffman, a "Young Earth"
creationist, struck all references to evolution (such as, "species are
evolving" and "naturally evolving ecosystems") in some cases leaving
entire paragraphs intact except to excise an evolution reference.
Then-incoming Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne publicly rejected
Hoffman's draft and soon thereafter transferred him.

"National parks were the one environmental issue on which George W.
Bush campaigned but, under Hoffman, parks became 'The Bad News Bears'
for Bush," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch.

Besides the park management policies debacle, Hoffman authorized the
firing of U.S. Park Police Teresa Chambers for disclosing staff
shortages in a Washington Post interview, a case that is still in
court. His antipathy for the media was palpable as reflected by this
post on his supposedly anonymous blog:

"I now live in the Washington, DC, Metro Area and I
am a Senior Executive with the Federal government. I have had extensive
experience with the media over the years, but nothing compares to the
vilification and lies I have been subjected by the likes of the New
York Times, Los Angeles Times, the New Republic, Vanity Fair, and even
National Geographic."

Despite a total absence of scientific training, Hoffman regularly
overruled agency scientists on issues ranging from the effect of
power-plants on park visibility to whether cutthroat trout should be
protected under the Endangered Species Act. In his last position where
he was in charge of "Human Capital, Performance, and Partnerships"
Hoffman presided over Interior's vast physical plant which was found to
be scandalously unsafe for workers in an Inspector General audit.

"Paul Hoffman's departure from public service will be little mourned," Ruch concluded.


Read the Hoffman resignation message

Visit Hoffman's anonymous blog

Look at one example of Hoffman at work

See the unsafe conditions at Interior under Hoffman

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is a national alliance of local state and federal resource professionals. PEER's environmental work is solely directed by the needs of its members. As a consequence, we have the distinct honor of serving resource professionals who daily cast profiles in courage in cubicles across the country.