Tribes thank Interior deputy secretary David Hayes for work

David Hayes, the number two at the Interior Department, is leaving the Obama administration after more than four years of service.

Hayes played a key role in Indian affairs. He helped negotiate the $3.4 billion settlement to the Cobell trust fund lawsuit, develop a new tribal consultation policy and finalize several tribal water rights settlements. "The Navajo Nation thanks Deputy Secretary Hayes for his guidance, leadership, and insight while at the Department of the Interior. It was a pleasure to work with Mr. Hayes on a variety of issues for the Navajo Nation including water and energy projects. His expertise is not only Indian Affairs but also department wide will be sorely missed," said Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly. "He is a friend to the Navajo Nation and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

The National Congress of American Indians, the largest inter-tribal organization, also praised Hayes, who is expected to step down sometime in June.

“Deputy Secretary David Hayes will depart the Department of Interior having left an indelible mark on the federal trust relationship between the federal government and tribal nations. He has been a consistent presence in Indian Country working tirelessly to uphold our nation-to-nation relationship," NCAI said in a statement. "As a key member of Secretary Salazar’s team during the first term of the Obama administration, David will be part of a legacy that has launched a new era in federal-tribal relations and set a new baseline for the Department of the Interior’s engagement with tribal nations.“

Hayes's pending departure leaves new Interior Secretary Sally Jewell without a key partner. She noted that he has played a role in nearly every major initiative at DOI over the last four years.

“From his work on expanding renewable energy production on public lands and waters, to coordinating federal family energy activities in Alaska, to developing a landscape-scale approach to conservation and climate change, David has left an indelible mark," Jewell said in a press release.

Hayes said he will join the Hewlett Foundation and teach at Stanford Law School in the fall.

Get the Story:
In The Loop: DOI’s number two David Hayes stepping down (The Washington Post 4/30)
Interior Department’s No. 2 Stepping Down (The New York Times 4/30)

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