Ex-energy lobbyist tapped to oversee fish, wildlife and parks

By Michael Doyle | 05/03/2019 04:28 PM EDT

Robert Wallace, President Trump's intended nominee to be the Interior Department's assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks.

Robert Wallace, President Trump's intended nominee to be the Interior Department's assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks. Wallace/Special to E&E News

The White House today announced an intention to nominate Wyoming resident, former energy company lobbyist and Capitol Hill veteran Robert Wallace to a key position overseeing the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service.

The Interior Department position of assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks has been vacant since the start of the Trump administration.

Raised in Evanston, Wyo., Wallace graduated in 1971 with a petroleum engineering degree from the University of Texas, Austin, and worked as a seasonal ranger in Grand Teton National Park. He served as assistant director of the National Park Service and as chief of staff to then-Sen. Malcolm Wallop (R-Wyo.).


In 1994, Wallace made an unsuccessful bid for Wyoming’s House seat, finishing second in a five-way GOP primary behind eventual winner Barbara Cubin.

After a stint as Republican staff director for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and as chief of staff to Wyoming’s then-Gov. Jim Geringer (R), Wallace spent 17 years as manager of government relations for GE Energy.

"The world is changing," Wallace said in a 2009 interview with Wyoming PBS. "It’s changing because people want a cleaner environment. They’re worried about climate change. They’re worried about carbon management. They’re also worried about having the basics of electricity."

Wallace added that, as nations develop, "you want to be in the forefront of clean solutions."

He moved back to Jackson Hole, Wyo., in 2014 and has served on the boards of the Teton Science Schools, the Jackson Hole Historical Society, the Jackson Hole Land Trust and the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources.

Wallace is a partner in i2 Capital, which his LinkedIn page describes as "a global merchant bank specializing in the conservation, education, energy and health sectors."

NPS and FWS still lack Senate-confirmed directors. In the absence of a Senate-confirmed assistant secretary overseeing the two agencies, the responsibility has been shouldered by political appointees serving in an acting capacity.

"Without question, Rob is the right person for this job," said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). "Throughout his long and distinguished career, Rob has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to striking the proper balance between wildlife conservation, habitat management and use of our public land."

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