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Hayes, David (California Water Czar)



Title: Deputy Interior Secretary
Reports to: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
Confirmed by Senate (as Deputy Interior Security): May 20, 2009
Department that handles similar issues: Department of the Interior
Duties: Coordinating federal agencies to ease California's water shortage

  • Earned a BA from the University of Notre Dame in 1975
  • Earned J.D. from Stanford University Law School in 1978
  • Clerked for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • Worked at the Washington, DC law firm Hogan & Hartson during the 1980s, eventually becoming a partner
  • Became a partner in 1990 at the DC law firm Latham & Watkins, where he chaired the environmental division that was created by Robert M. Sussman (whom President Obama would appoint as deputy secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency in 2009)
  • Served on the EPA Transition Team for President-elect Bill Clinton in 1992
  • 1993-94: Served as a special emissary for Vice President Al Gore to advise Bolivia’s new President on sustainable development issues
  • Was board chairman of the Environmental Law Institute, a non-profit research center, from 1993-1995
  • Served as a counselor to the Clinton administration’s Interior Department Secretary Bruce Babbitt from 1997-2001
  • Was named acting Deputy Interior Secretary in 2001
  • Focused chiefly on environmental priorities, including the acquisition and protection of threatened lands; the restoration of threatened ecosystems; the negotiation of habitat conservation plans under the Endangered Species Act; and energy-related issues associated with oil and gas exploration on federal lands (which he supported).
  • After the Clinton presidency, Hayes returned to Latham & Watkins, where he served as global chairman of the Environment, Land and Resources practice. There, he worked closely with the aforementioned Robert Sussman.
  • Became a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, a think tank affiliated with the Democratic Leadership Council
  • Became a senior fellow at the World Wildlife Fund
  • Served as Board Chairman of the Environmental Law Institute
  • Represented the Southern California Metropolitan Water District as a lobbyist in 2001
  • Was a lead environmental and energy advisor to the John Kerry presidential campaign in 2004
  • During the 2007-2008 academic year, Hayes was a Consulting Professor at Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment, where he undertook a special project analyzing the regulatory challenges associated with carbon offsets. His report was published by the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress. His report, released less than three months prior to the 2008 presidential election, accused the Bush administration of leaving a “damaging legacy” in its natural resource management policies.
  • Donated $2,300 to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign; after Clinton withdrew from the race, Hayes gave $2,300 to Obama.
  • After Obama’s 2008 election, Hayes was asked to join the transition team’s agency review working group. He led the review of energy and natural resources agencies, including the Department of the Interior, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Agriculture, as well as the EPA. Hayes reported directly to Obama transition chief John Podesta.
  • Hayes says that “tropical deforestation” is “a tremendous part of our current problem with climate change.” He adds: “It’s a shocking statistic, but literally, globally, 20 percent of our global greenhouse gas emissions come from the destruction, the ongoing destruction, of forests in countries like Brazil, Indonesia and Malaysia … So we have got to get a handle on reducing that tropical deforestation issue.”


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