Despite Setback, Senator Feinstein Renews Commitment to Secure Confirmation of David Hayes as Deputy Secretary of the Interior
May 13 2009
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has renewed her commitment to securing the confirmation of David Hayes to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Interior, despite today’s setback of the Senate failing to close off debate on his nomination. A motion to invoke cloture failed to secure the necessary 60 votes, and was defeated by a vote of 57 to 39. Senator Feinstein chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.
“I have spoken the Majority Leader and we are both determined that David Hayes should be confirmed,” Senator Feinstein said. “Mr. Hayes is a well respected and experienced professional who served with distinction as the Deputy Secretary of the Interior in the Clinton Administration, where he had authority over all of the Department’s bureaus and offices, including the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Minerals Management Service. He is unquestionably qualified for a return to Interior and, candidly, I find holding him up in this manner to be unacceptable. He cannot – and should not – pre-judge decisions as some have demanded. There will be another vote on another day.”
Following is the text of the statement in support of the Hayes nomination that was entered by Senator Feinstein into the Congressional Record prior to the cloture vote today:
“Mr. President, I rise today to support the nomination of David Hayes to be Deputy Secretary for the Department of the Interior. I think extraordinarily highly of him.
At a time when Western Water issues are at a crisis point, we need someone with experience and knowledge at the Department of the Interior. Many of our great rivers and estuaries are locked in conflict, and I can think of no one better than David Hayes to work to resolve these issues.
He is smart, he is well-respected, he gets into the details, and he can close a deal.
David Hayes has been nominated for the Number 2 position at the Department of the Interior. This is an important job. As Deputy Secretary, he would work closely with Secretary Salazar and have management responsibilities over the entire department, as well as policy responsibilities over the entire department.
He would have statutory responsibility as the Chief Operating Officer to help lead a Department of 67,000 employees and an annual budget of approximately $16 billion, including annual and permanent funding.
The Deputy Secretary is the day-to-day administrative manager of the Department, and an integral part of the policy decisions. His prior experience in the Clinton Administration in the job means he can hit the ground running.
We need him to be confirmed so we can move on issues like climate change, public lands management, and resolve some of long-standing water conflicts, including the Bay-Delta in my home state.
I believe he has the confidence of Secretary Salazar, and he has my confidence, and I think very highly of him.
He’s been able to take critical land and water issues and work out agreements. His great strength is his ability to negotiate. When it comes to Western water, energy, Indian affairs, and many of the other issues that face Interior, having someone who can consult with the key parties and earn their support on a way to move forward is essential.
David Hayes also was key to resolving a decades-old conflict about the Colorado River. The Quantification Settlement Agreement enabled California to reduce its overdependence on the Colorado River to its 4.4 million acre-foot apportionment over a 15 year grace period, and assures California up to 75 years of stability in its Colorado River water supplies.
Without the agreement, the California risked being suddenly cut-off from the excess of almost 5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water it had been taking, instead of having 15 years to get there.
David Hayes was instrumental in working out the Headwaters Agreement, which converted 75,000 acres of the largest private old-growth redwood grove to the public lands, protected forever.
David Hayes worked very hard to bring the parties together and negotiate a path forward for the timber company on its remaining lands, and to preserve the old growth redwoods - a large, virtually untouched tract land with 1,000- and 2,000-year-old trees.
David Hayes also worked on the historic Cal-Fed agreement, which affected the urban environmental and agricultural needs of the entire California Bay Delta region. We are again in crisis, and we need him back to help resolve it.
All of these were difficult and sophisticated agreements which needed the determined and steady hand that David Hayes provided. Time and again he was able to bring people together behind a broadly agreeable plan.
David Hayes has been well-respected since his days at Stanford Law School in the late ‘70s, where he was recognized for his outstanding editorial contributions to the Stanford Law Review.
He has a long and distinguished career in private practice, which has always focused on environmental, energy and natural resources matters and the interconnectedness between the three.
From 1997 to 1999, David Hayes served as the Counselor to the Secretary of the Interior, and from 1999 to 2001, he served in the very position that we are considering him for here today.
So, there is no doubt that he is extremely well-qualified to fill this position.
David Hayes is well positioned to negotiate the many complex issues that face the Department of the Interior today, including:
- the proposed removal of dams on the Klamath River,
- the development of renewable energy and conservation of the deserts,
- the management and conservation of California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta for habitat restoration and water supply goals.
I know that there are some who believe that one cannot understand the West without being from the West. I can only say that there is no one that I know of who is a candidate for this office who brings more experience in Western issues than David Hayes. He is really unparalleled in the arena of federal officials.
I believe that he would be a real asset to the Administration, and I hope that you will join me in supporting him. I urge my colleagues to vote to confirm David Hayes.
Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.”