Gary Herbert has appointed Cody Steward, a former lobbyist for the oil and gas industry as his new primary energy adviser. Working to ensure that those in charge of regulating the industry have the best ties to the industry itself, Herbert has replaced Amanda Smith, who will remain at the Department of Environmental Quality, with Steward. “As we execute our 10-year strategic energy plan, Cody will be a key facilitator to ensure Utah is at the forefront in securing reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible energy,” the Governor said.
Ensuring that the potential conflicts of interest run as deep and wide as is required in Utah politics, Stewart comes from a background working as a lobbyist for multiple energy companies and for Americans for American Energy, a now defunct pro-domestic energy group that hates the EPA almost as much as it loves fracking. AAE is a subsidiary to the Pac/West Communications firm; a firm with ties to the illustrious secret Energy Task Force headed by former Vice President
Norman Bates Dick Cheney. They even got Rob Bishop to sponsor domestic energy legislation in their own name. Legislation that Bishop sponsored at the same time Mr. Cody Stewart happened to be a legislative director for the very same representative. AAE has also got a friend in our favorite resident idiot, Orrin Hatch. Hatch issued a press release back in 2008 quoting one of their members Bishop Harry Jackson in an astro-turf campaign sponsored by Pac/West pushing for increased domestic drilling.
Given Steward’s magnanimous background, many environmental groups are angered and disappointed that the Governor is turning his trusted adviser of energy policy over to the “most extreme wing of dirty energy lobbyists in the west”. It should be understood that this appointment was not earned by Stewards credentials or ability to guide Utah’s energy policy into the 21st century. Instead, this position was flat out purchased with campaign donations. Considering the sources of his funds you’ll see he’s received $171,500 from the “Energy & Natural Resources” sectors. Some of his largest individual donors are energy companies and other interested parties. The SLTrib states that $1 in $6 of his campaign funds from the last 16 months to be from energy companies.
For a mere $200,000, you too can buy a position in the top tiers of state government guiding the future energy needs of the state. Perhaps the renewable energy groups could come up with a few more thousand dollars and
buy him out become “a key facilitator”. Luckily for the electorate, Steward is an oil-man, so we should be well lubed for the massive fucking we’re in for.