For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Yetta Stein, Communications Associate

Western Values Project Action

(406) 529-1682

Former Monsanto Employee to Utilize Trump’s Revolving Door to Join Bernhardt’s Swampy Interior

Fish and Wildlife Nominee Aurelia Skipwith to Face Senate Committee Today

Whitefish, MT. - Today, the Senate will hear from Trump’s nominee to be the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Aurelia Skipwith, a former employee of agrochemical corporation Monsanto. 

“Skipwith has a history of working with big-time special interests like Monsanto. Outside of her days at the agrochemical corporation, her resume is surprisingly scant for someone that would be charged with managing America’s fish and wildlife. But like so many other Trump political appointees, Skipwith has already rubbed elbows with oil and gas interests and is poised to continue to curry favors for special interests at the expense of our public lands, fish and wildlife if she is confirmed,” said Jayson O’Neill, Deputy Director of the Western Values Project.

While Skipwith was working for Monsanto, the corporation lobbied Interior, Congress, and other federal agencies on the Endangered Species Act. In 2012, Skipwith even won an award from the agrochemical corporation for her work.

After Skipwith joined FWS as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Fish, Wildlife and Park, FWS decided to rescind a ban on farms within national wildlife refuges using bee-killing pesticides - a decision highly favorable to Monsanto. This wasn’t the only departmental action that would ostensibly benefit agrochemical corporations. Secretary Bernhardt is under investigation by Interior’s Inspector General for his role in suppressing a scientific assessment on the impacts of pesticides on endangered and threatened species.  


The Stakes Have Never Been Higher.

The nonprofit, independent journalism of Common Dreams needs your help. Our journalists are working harder than ever to bring you journalism that is essential to the survival of our democracy. But we can't do it without you. Please support our 2020 Mid-Year Campaign today:

According to her publically released calendars, Skipwith has been deeply involved in the administration's rollback of habitat protections for the imperiled sage grouse and spoke at the oil and gas association Independent Petroleum Association of America’s (IPAA) regulators’ forum. The IPAA is a former client of Secretary Bernhardt’s whose political director was caught on tape laughing about the connections and access they have within the Trump administration.

In July 2017, Skipwith sent memos to the National Park Service and FWS requesting they review rules that prevented hunters from killing bears and wolves using extreme techniques, like  “baiting the animals with greasy doughnuts, ambushing mothers with pups in dens and shooting animals from boats while the bears are swimming.”

Skipwith’s qualifications for the nomination have been called into question, given that her resume offers no previous experience working within FWS, aside from her work as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks over the last two years within the Trump administration. She was originally nominated under the tenure of former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke - who ran in the same circles as Skipwith’s then-fiance. Recently, 27 former FWS employees united in opposition to her nomination, critiquing her background and experience. 

Her nomination was celebrated by both scandal-ridden Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who resigned in disgrace in late-2018, as well as current conflict-ridden Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. Her original nomination died at the end of the previous Congress, but she was renominated for the same position on July 17, 2019.  


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.

Please select a donation method:

Western Values Project brings accountability to the national conversation about Western public lands and national parks conservation – a space too often dominated by industry lobbyists and their allies in government.

Share This Article