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Ellen Paul

Admin nominates new director for USFWS

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This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council.

Aurelia Skipwith, currently the the deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks at the Department of the Interior, has been nominated to head the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The position has not had a permanent director since the end of the Obama administration. Until August 2018, Greg Sheehan held the post in an acting capacity. Ms. Skipwith is a biologist and lawyer who spent more than six years at the agriculture giant Monsanto. She joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2013. However, she seems not to meet the statutory requirement for this position, which, under 16 U.S.C. 742(b) mandates that: No individual may be appointed as the Director unless he is, by reason of scientific education and experience, knowledgeable in the principles of fisheries and wildlife management.Although Ms. Skipwith has a master's degree, it is in animal science (Purdue University, 2005). The areas of specialization offered in that program are: Animal Behavior and Welfare, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Genetics, Management, Meat Science and Food Safety, Neuroscience, Nutrition, and Physiology. In addition, Ph.D. programs are offered in the area of Interdisciplinary Genetics (IGNT). After earning a law degree, she spent four months as an intern in a USDA foreign agriculture program focusing on crops, then seven months as an intellectual property consultant for USAID, focusing on food security. She next spent slightly over a year as assistant general counsel and regulatory affairs coordinator for a company that makes animal food. She began her career at Monsanto and worked her way up from a lab technician to sustainable agriculture partnership manager.

 

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