Bloomberg Story Exposes that the Husband of CEQ General Counsel Is Industry Lobbyist Who Has Been Lobbying Agency for NEPA Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A Bloomberg story, based in part on Accountable.US research, reports that Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) General Counsel Viktoria Seale, who has been a key player in CEQ’s effort to overhaul the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a decades-old law that requires environmental reviews to take place before infrastructure projects can be completed, has a clear conflict of interest. Seale’s husband, John Seale, is a lobbyist for the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and he has lobbied the CEQ on NEPA while his wife served as the agency’s top lawyer.

“It doesn’t get swampier than this. General Counsel Seale’s blatant conflicts of interest stand out even in an administration where corruption has run rampant,” said Accountable.US President Kyle Herrig. “All of us could pay the price for a worse environment because Trump’s CEQ is abusing taxpayer resources to enrich themselves.”

According to the Bloomberg story, John Seale is the ACC’s Director Of Federal Affairs. The story reports that on the ACC’s lobbying disclosure form for the last quarter of 2019, the ACC lists NEPA as one of its lobbying issues, lists CEQ among the agencies the group has approached, and lists John Seale as one of the individuals “who acted as a lobbyist in this issue area.”

While CEQ and the American Chemistry Council denied that John Seale had ever met with the agency or lobbied about NEPA, they failed to provide any evidence to Bloomberg to back up this claim.

Accountable.US has filed a number of Freedom of Information Act requests seeking information from CEQ about Seale’s communications with the American Chemistry Council and her communications about NEPA reform.

CEQ held its second public hearing on NEPA reform last Tuesday, February 25. 

# # #