Soon after the DEP approved Enbridge’s air quality permit, Sec. Beaton is taking up a position with a contractor for Enbridge. We smell a rat. A big one.
It was announced today that Environment Secretary Matthew Beaton will be leaving his role as Environment Secretary to join the consulting firm TRC as a senior vice president. Yes, this is the same firm that has worked for Enbridge on the compressor station project. Beaton will be replaced by Kathleen Theoharides, a former conservation consultant.
The ethical implications of Beaton's departure are quite unbelievable. Will he share information from his DEP and CZM that would not be readily available to the public? We have no way of knowing. But the optics are not encouraging.
And in another conflict of interest: Itai Vardi reports in Desmog that "while Theoharides has a background in conservation and wildlife protection, she too may now face increasing ethics scrutiny. According to her financial disclosure, Theoharides’ husband, Stephen Caldwell, is director of retail regulatory strategy at National Grid, which supplies the state with electricity and gas." (Itai Vardi, Desmog)
We’ve seen this happen before — Government officials leaving the public sector for private industry roles. But it doesn’t make Beaton’s departure to TRC any less concerning. We have no way of knowing what or how much information on Enbridge that he will choose to share with TRC. These individuals make it seem like our health, our community, our environment, are something to be played with. We disagree.
You can read more about this new development here: Desmog - After Approving Enbridge Permit, Massachusetts’ Environment Secretary Lands Job with Project’s Contractor