PEOPLE

Former Interior Official Lynn Scarlett Joins Nature Conservancy

Lynn Scarlett
National Journal
Christopher Snow Hopkins
See more stories about...
Christopher Snow Hopkins
Sept. 5, 2013, 3:30 p.m.

When Lynn Scar­lett was the second highest-rank­ing of­fi­cial at the In­teri­or De­part­ment, her col­leagues re­ferred to her as “the gazelle.” A fan­at­ic­al birder and self-de­scribed “de­votee” of wild­life refuges, Scar­lett op­er­ates at a man­ic pace and al­ways seems to be in a jog.

Earli­er this week, Scar­lett was named man­aging dir­ect­or for pub­lic policy at the Nature Con­servancy, where she will be re­united with Bob Bendick, with whom Scar­lett co­chairs the Prac­ti­tion­ers’ Net­work for Large Land­scape Con­ser­va­tion.

Scar­lett, 63, was raised in west­ern Pennsylvania — “not far from where Rachel Car­son lived,” she said — and spent much of her child­hood in a 27-acre wooded lot be­hind her house. “Ever since I could wield the bin­ocu­lars when I was 5 or 6 years old, my moth­er took me out bird­ing.”

After re­ceiv­ing bach­el­or’s and mas­ter’s de­grees from the Uni­versity of Cali­for­nia (Santa Bar­bara), Scar­lett was hired by the Los Angeles-based Reas­on Found­a­tion, where she spe­cial­ized in haz­ard­ous-waste and oth­er en­vir­on­ment­al-policy is­sues. Over the course of 15 years at the liber­tari­an think tank, Scar­lett served as re­search dir­ect­or, vice pres­id­ent for policy, and even­tu­ally pres­id­ent and ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or.

When George W. Bush was elec­ted to his first term, Scar­lett was re­cruited to the In­teri­or De­part­ment, cus­todi­an of 500 mil­lion acres of fed­er­al pub­lic lands, as as­sist­ant sec­ret­ary for policy, man­age­ment, and budget. After serving briefly as head of the de­part­ment fol­low­ing the resig­na­tion of Sec­ret­ary Gale Norton in 2006, Scar­lett was el­ev­ated to deputy sec­ret­ary and chief op­er­at­ing of­ficer un­der Norton’s suc­cessor, Dirk Kempthorne. She was briefly en­snared in con­tro­versy the fol­low­ing year, when she ap­peared be­fore a con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tee to as­sure law­makers that she would re­view any de­cisions made by a rep­rob­ate Fish and Wild­life Ser­vice of­fi­cial, who had resigned amid ac­cus­a­tions that she vi­ol­ated fed­er­al eth­ics rules.

To­ward the end of her ten­ure, Scar­lett served as a lead au­thor on the U.S. Na­tion­al Cli­mate As­sess­ment, which com­piled and syn­thes­ized re­search on the im­plic­a­tions of cli­mate change. Some land and wa­ter un­der the pur­view of the In­teri­or De­part­ment, such as the Ever­glades in south­ern Flor­ida, are es­pe­cially vul­ner­able to sea-level rise, chan­ging pat­terns of pre­cip­it­a­tion, and oth­er symp­toms of a warm­ing plan­et. “As prudent man­agers, we needed to have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of what these ef­fects were, so that we could up our game, so that we could en­sure we were re­du­cing risk to those re­sources and man­aging wisely,” Scar­lett said.

At the same time, she and her col­leagues made sure not to ex­ceed their man­date, which was to as­sess the risks as­so­ci­ated with cli­mate change, not set policy. “That was a mat­ter for the Con­gress,” Scar­lett said.

Be­fore ar­riv­ing at the Nature Con­servancy, Scar­lett was co­dir­ect­or of Re­sources for the Fu­ture’s Cen­ter for Man­age­ment of Eco­lo­gic­al Wealth. When in Wash­ing­ton, her fa­vor­ite bird­ing des­tin­a­tions are Bom­bay Hook Na­tion­al Wild­life Refuge and Prime Hook Na­tion­al Wild­life Refuge, both on the Delaware coast. She has two grand­chil­dren, ages 1 and 4.

What We're Following See More »
1.5 MILLION MORE TUNED IN FOR TRUMP
More People Watched Trump’s Acceptance Speech
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

Hillary Clinton hopes that television ratings for the candidates' acceptance speeches at their respective conventions aren't foreshadowing of similar results at the polls in November. Preliminary results from the networks and cable channels show that 34.9 million people tuned in for Donald Trump's acceptance speech while 33.3 million watched Clinton accept the Democratic nomination. However, it is still possible that the numbers are closer than these ratings suggest: the numbers don't include ratings from PBS or CSPAN, which tend to attract more Democratic viewers.

Source:
×