Senate-confirmed Biden nominee isn’t even eligible for the job, experts say
- February 23, 2022
Andrew Kerr, Washington Examiner
Any decision made by President Joe Biden’s Senate-confirmed nominee to lead the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could be null and void because she doesn’t meet key requirements to hold the post, multiple conservationists and legal experts told the Washington Examiner.
Two conservationists told the Washington Examiner they warned the 20 members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in late 2021 that the nominee, Martha Williams, lacks a “scientific education” in a relevant field, a requirement Congress codified into law during the Nixon administration. Despite the warnings, the committee voted 16-4 in January to advance Williams’s nomination to lead the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Senate confirmed her nomination by voice vote on Thursday.
Protect the Public’s Trust, a government ethics watchdog group, warned in a press release Friday that any decisions Williams makes as head of the Forest and Wildlife Service could be imperiled as her “apparent lack of required qualifications creates a risk that her appointment is contrary to law.”
“While the confirmation of Martha Williams was bipartisan, it was nevertheless precedent-breaking and could create legal issues for the Department’s major priorities that might not have been fully considered,” said Michael Chamberlain, the watchdog group’s director. “From the environmental analysis of Alaska energy projects to revised Endangered Species Act regulations, Ms. Williams’ lack of statutory qualification presents a serious issue for the Department.”
Aland said he agreed with the warning, adding that there’s a real possibility that any actions Williams takes could be taken to court due to her lack of credentials.