Conflicts of Interest

The William Perry Pendley Rehabilitation Tour: Climate Change, Wild Horses, and Ethics Recusals

Read time: 5 mins
William Perry Pendley at SEJ 2019

By John R. Platt, The Revelator. Originally posted on The Revelator.

William Perry Pendley wants you think that what he thinks doesn’t matter.

Pendley spent four decades advocating for the corporate exploitation of U.S. public lands. He now serves the Trump administration as the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management, the agency responsible for much of those same public lands.

Over the years Pendley, a self-styled “Sagebrush Rebel,” has pushed for the wholesale divestment of public lands from federal control, denied the existence of climate change and the hole in the ozone layer, denigrated the press, and called illegal immigrants a “cancer,” among other radical, extremist positions.

But now he’d have you believe that those actions and opinions no longer matter.

Massachusetts Energy Secretary Engaged in Enbridge Facility Review While Negotiating Job With Project’s Consultant

Read time: 5 mins
Matthew Beaton

While still in office, Massachusetts’ former energy and environmental secretary Matthew Beaton, who recently left his post for the private sector, took part in discussions about a natural gas project involving his new employer, DeSmog has found.

As Natural Gas Infrastructure Decisions Loom, Massachusetts Gov. Baker Invests in Fossil Fuel Companies

Read time: 4 mins
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker

Amidst growing controversy over his administration’s support for new natural gas projects, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker personally invested in the fossil fuel industry, DeSmog has found.

According to Baker’s recent financial disclosure, filed last week with the state’s Ethics Commission, the governor invested last year in a specialty energy fund composed almost exclusively of oil, gas, and coal companies.

Op-Ed: Swampy Ex-Trump Officials Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke Are Back

Read time: 8 mins
Trump, Pruitt, Zinke

By . This is a guest post from Republic Report.

Former top Trump environmental officials Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke, both forced out of their jobs last year under the weight of, for each, an absurdly large number of ethics scandals, have now resurfaced, with each accepting influence-peddling jobs in industries they previously regulated. The two also appeared jointly at a recent Texas Republican event and demonstrated that each man remains utterly shameless.

Recounting the Conflicts: Ex-Industry Lobbyist David Bernhardt's Hearing to Lead Interior Department

Read time: 4 mins
David Bernhardt at his Senate confirmation hearing

This is a guest post from ClimateDenierRoundup.

Yesterday, David Bernhardt, who’s been the acting head of the Department of Interior (DOI) since Zinke was forced out late last year due to his many different scandals, faced a confirmation hearing to be the new head of DOI. And while Trump promised to drain the swamp, even swamp monsters are shocked by Bernhardt’s corruption.

You may remember Bernhardt as the guy who has so many conflicts of interest he has to carry them around on an easy-reference card to make sure he doesn’t violate ethics rules.

Massachusetts Hired Energy Industry Execs to 'Independently' Review State’s Gas System

Read time: 5 mins
Gas marker in Cambridge, Massachusetts

A private contractor employed by the state of Massachusetts to conduct a statewide safety review of its gas distribution companies hired gas industry executives for the project, documents obtained by DeSmog show. They include two former executives of National Grid —  one of the companies under review — and Enbridge, a main supplier of gas in the state.

Virginia Air Board Member Who Approved a Controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline Permit Has Links to a Dominion Gas Partner

Read time: 6 mins
Protest against Atlantic Coast pipeline outside a 2015 Dominion shareholder meeting

A member of a Virginia state permitting board who last week approved a highly controversial certification for Dominion's planned Atlantic Coast pipeline has business ties to a company currently collaborating with Dominion on a related gas project, DeSmog has found.

William (Trip) Ferguson joined three other Air Pollution Control Board members to unanimously approve a permit for Dominion’s Buckingham compressor station. The planned station, which will propel the natural gas as it moves through the 600-mile interstate pipeline, will be built in Union Hill, a largely African-American community settled by free blacks and emancipated slaves after the Civil War.

Zinke's Shrinking of National Monuments and Meetings With Halliburton Could Be Center of DOJ Investigation

Read time: 3 mins
Ryan Zinke in Yosemite

By Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

One of the Department of Interior's (DOI) internal watchdog investigations into Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's behavior while in office has been referred to the Justice Department, which only happens when investigators determine there might have been a criminal violation, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Two sources familiar with the investigation broke the news to the press, but did not specify which of the probes into Zinke's actions was involved. A senior White House official only told The Washington Post that the investigation revolved around whether Zinke “used his office to help himself.”

Trump’s Pick to Lead Energy Tech Innovation Program Is Invested in Gas Utilities and Pipeline Companies

Read time: 4 mins
Lane Genatowski at his Senate hearing

A nominee to head a cutting-edge research program in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is personally invested in various natural gas-based utilities and gas pipeline companies.

In July, the Trump administration announced the nomination of Lane Genatowski to head the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which tries to bridge the gap between basic research and the commercialization of breakthrough energy technologies and is modeled after the Department of Defense program that led to the Internet and GPS.

5 Virginia Officials Involved in Regulating Dominion Energy Are Invested in the Company

Read time: 7 mins
Dominion's Chesterfield Power Station

Five employees of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have financial interests in Dominion, the state’s largest utility and energy company. The officials are involved, in one way or another, in permitting or overseeing the company’s activities, ranging from water discharges to emissions controls on power plants.

According to financial disclosures filed with the state’s ethics council, four of them directly own stock in the company, while the wife of a fifth official works for Dominion.

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