Friday, May 15, 2009


Superfund: 1,623 Sites
Nearly 100 companies and the federal government are linked to 40 percent of the total sites represented above. One out of two Americans live within 10 miles of a Superfund site.

Perhaps someone can explain to me the reason why a President, who has professed his desire to clean-up the environment and to try to restore some balance to USer energy use and development, would want to install in the remarkably sensitive position of Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, in the DoJ, an attorney who's most recent experience includes--but who has in fact spent most of her professional life--trying to defeat or block "super-fund" and other environmental suits against the country's most egregious, polluting, corporate defendants. What's in it for us?

The person named for the post is Ignacia S. Moreno, regarded by many as the nation's top corporate environmental litigator. On Tuesday, Obama “announced his intent to nominate” Moreno to as the primary enforcer of the nation’s environmental laws. At present, Moreno represents the nation's top environmental criminal. This makes no sense to me.

This is Moreno's second trip through the revolving door INTO government. She previously served in the Clinton DoJ as counsel to the Division she is now being named to lead. Her appointment has stimulated questions about the Obama administration's commitment to the environment protection. As lead litigator for GE, Moreno led the effort to stall, postpone, and otherwise obstruct the multi-billion dollar, Court-ordered clean-up by GE of the pcb pollution in the Hudson River. Critics wonder (justifiably, imho) if she can be an aggressive prosecutor of industries she has so long defended agains the very department she'll be leading. I add my own skepticism to the small chorus: Just because the fox guarding the hen-house is female doesn't make her any less likely to feather her nest.

Some might argue, charitably, that Moreno's experience defending corporate miscreants makes her the ideal person to direct Governmental litigation against those same polluting corporations.

But I'm not in a charitable mood, and I don't think that position captures the true spirit of the Govt. Regulator/Regulated revolving door. Morena made her bones in Clinton's DoJ, but Clinton's been gone for 8 years. She is said to have served "with distinction." But in the interim, Moreno took that experience (you might--uncharitably, I admit--regard it as a "taking' of the regulator's 'proprietary knowledge') and sold it to the highest corporate bidder, to help them thwart the Government's legitimate claims against the criminal polluters.

I am sure she's very comfortably fixed, by now: partner in a law firm, executive at GE, etc. But perhaps she felt she needed to burnish her credentials for her bosses at GE and elsewhere. She'll be worth a LOT more to them again AFTER she's been in Govt again for long enough to become more expert at avoiding regulation.

I doubt she's going to bite too fiercely at the hands she expects again to be feeding her in a couple of years. Given her cozy relations with sleazy corporate behavior, she'll fit right in with Eric Holder, the guy who got Chiquita off for hiring and supplying paid killers to keep "order" in Columbian banana plantations.

No, no, I don't really trust anybody in Government or Industry not to betray people for profit.

Do you think I am wrong in this?

1 comment:

One Fly said...

Not even a little bit Woody.