The Trump Administration is gearing up to nominate a new head in the Department of the Interior (DOI)'s Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). According to The Guardian, Donald Trump is expected to choose former Monsanto executive Aurelia Skipwith to run FWS. She would be the first African American nominated to lead the FWS.
Skipwith comes from an agriculture background, having worked in research at the large agrochemical company for six years. She has served as the deputy assistant secretary of fish, wildlife and parks for DOI since April 2017.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke had nothing but praise for Skipwith.
“She has helped lead some of my top priorities for getting more people to enjoy our public lands, like expanding access for hunting and fishing, recognizing National Urban Refuge Day, and designating sites on the African American Civil Rights Network. I look forward to her speedy confirmation,” Zinke said in a statement on Tuesday, according to Think Progress.
The pending nomination doesn't come without controversy, however.
Zinke has faced ethics charges in recent weeks, as The Washington Post reports, and has faced criticism from environmental groups over public land use. While critics of Skipwith's promotion had no ethical concerns, they did make it clear they worry she will favor industry over conservation.
“Aurelia Skipwith has been working in the Trump administration all along to end protections for billions of migratory birds, gut endangered species safeguards and eviscerate national monuments,” said Brett Hartl, The Center for Biological Diversity government affairs director.
Chris Saeger, executive director of the Western Values Project, echoed Hartl's fears. “Ms. Skipwith’s nomination is business as usual for an administration that has sought to reward its allies at the expense of public lands and wildlife.”
Skipwith has yet to comment on the promotion herself.
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