Brown reappoints former Resources Legacy Fund Foundation head to Delta Conservancy

Written By: Dan Bacher, May 5, 2014

Governor Jerry Brown on March 28 appointed Michael Eaton, 62, of Galt,  to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy, where he has served since 2010. 

Eaton has been owner of Kingbird Farms since 2010, according to the announcement from the Governor's Office. He was executive director at the Resources Legacy Fund and Resources Legacy Fund Foundation from 2007 to 2010 and project director at the Nature Conversancy from 1995 to 2007. 

Michael Eaton's reappointment by Brown is a classic example of the revolving door between foundations, corporate "environmental" NGOs, corporations and government that characterizes environmental committees and processes in California.

Eaton headed the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, known for its support of corporate greenwashing campaigns in California, as it was funding the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create so-called "marine protected areas" that don't protect the ocean.

The MLPA Initiative was characterized by numerous conflicts of interests, terminally flawed science and the overt violation of the Yurok and other Tribes' traditional fishing and gathering rights. The process that Eaton's group funded created questionable "marine protected areas" that fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, pollution, corporate aquaculture, wind and wave energy projects and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.

In a huge conflict of interest, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California from 2009 to 2011. (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mpa/brtf_bios_sc.asp

During the period from 2004 to 2012, she also served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast. Under her leadership, she and other corporate interests made sure that oil industry operations, including fracking operations in Southern California waters, weren’t impacted at all by the creation of "marine protected areas."   

More recently, the corruption of the individuals overseeing the process was evidenced by the guilty plea by Ron LeValley, Co-Chair of the MLPA Initiative Science Advisory Team for the North Coast, on federal embezzlement charges. LeValley is scheduled for sentencing in May for his role in a conspiracy to embezzle nearly $1 million from the Yurok Tribe, the same Tribe whose scientists he inexplicably refused to allow present scientific studies that contested the junk science the process was based upon.

The Resources Legacy Fund Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation that funds it are also known for dumping millions into corporate environmental NGOs that support a peripheral canal or tunnel, as well as funding the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) reports advocating the construction of a peripheral canal or tunnel.  

Besides serving as Executive Director of the shadowy Resources Legacy Fund and Resources Legacy Foundation, Eaton was an independent environmental policy consultant from 1983 to 1995 and assistant secretary for resources policy at the California Resources Agency from 1981 to 1983. 

This position requires Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Eaton is a Democrat.  

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