The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from DCReport.

Trump appointee Susan Combs who was paid up to almost $2.2 million by oil companies and who blocked federal protection for a tiny Texas lizard on oil fields, now wants to restructure our nation’s Interior Department to “result in improved permitting.”

Combs, the acting secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, told the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources that she wants to consolidate administration of the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

“As long as her industry pals make a profit, she won’t think twice about letting a species go extinct,” said Stephanie Kurose of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Combs, Trump’s nominee to be assistant secretary of the Interior, is just one of the grifters in the Trump administration.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross spent much of his first year in office as a business partner with the Chinese government even as he negotiated U.S.-China trade relations. Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke started a foundation that helped a developer backed by the chairman of Halliburton, the oil -services firm that could benefit from Interior decisions.

Federal disclosure documents show that from 2016 to 2017 Combs received:

  • Up to $50,000 in rent or royalties from Chesapeake Operating LLC for an oil and gas lease in La Salle County in Texas.
  • Up to $15,000 in rent or royalties from Carrizo Oil & Gas for an oil and gas lease in McMullen County in Texas.
  • Up to $1 million in rent or royalties from Murphy Oil Corp. for an oil and gas lease in Karnes County in Texas.
  • Up to $1 million in rent or royalties from ConocoPhillips for an oil and gas lease in Karnes County.
  • Up to $100,000 in rent or royalties from Marathon Oil for an oil and gas lease in Karnes County.
  • Up to $2,500 in rent or royalties from Phillips 66 for an oil and gas lease in Karnes County.

Combs, then the Texas comptroller, worked with the oil industry to set up a voluntary program in 2012 to protect the dunes sagebrush lizard. Under Combs, Texas kept agreements with landowners to protect lizard habitat confidential. Even the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t know where or how much land is being protected.

Environmentalists say those efforts haven’t been enough and have asked the Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the lizards under the Endangered Species Act.

Featured image: The endangered dunes sagebrush lizard


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

After the Anti-Defamation League again called for Fox News host Tucker Carlson's firing due to his promotion of the white nationalist "great replacement" conspiracy theory, Carlson's first response was to tell a podcast interviewer, "Fuck them." His second was to use his prime-time show to blame a Jew for the resettlement of Afghan refugees in "your" neighborhood, echoing the apparent motivation of the alleged perpetrator of the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue massacre.

Keep reading... Show less

Dominic Pezzola, center rear with grey beard, confronts Capitol Police officer outside U.S. Senate Chambers.

Photo from U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The next time that right-wing gaslighters—whether Tucker Carlson or other far-right pundits, or Republican congressmen—try to valorize the insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by depicting them as harmless protesters, it might be helpful for everyone to review the case of Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola, charged with conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, assault, and multiple other felonies.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}