These days, anything that goes on in Washington D.C. creates a buzz, no matter what side of the aisle you prefer to view your political theater from. So the reported new director of the National Park Service, P. Daniel Smith, probably wasn’t going to be met with no comments, or in his case, significant resistance.
Trump Pick for Deputy Interior Director, P. Daniel Smith, Draws Fire. He Has Demonstrated in the Past No Regard For the Environment. Should Not Head National Park Service https://t.co/WJOZCalu92 via @Newsmax
— Linda Hines Ensor (@hinesy65) January 7, 2018
It’s not even 3 p.m. on a Monday, so expect more backlash, but Smith’s connection to controversial Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is trending.
An ex-National Park Service official who improperly helped the owner of the Washington Redskins cut down more than 130 trees to improve a river view at his Potomac estate has been chosen by the Trump admin to be one of the agency’s top leaders. https://t.co/4oYgIL5yt4
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 7, 2018
Here’s more from the New York Daily News:
Smith retired from NPS in 2014, but a decade earlier he got into hot water as special assistant to the agency’s director.
He reportedly acted as middle man when Snyder wanted 130 trees removed at Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park so he could have a better view of the Potomac River from his Maryland mansion.
He told staff at the park “Snyder was not happy with the pace of negotiations with NPS concerning the scenic easement,” according to National Parks Traveler.
The inspector general for the Interior Department in 2006 found Smith “inappropriately used his position to apply pressure and circumvent NPS procedures” to get the trees cut down.
Snyder wasn’t accused of wrongdoing for removing 50,000 square feet of trees, which were replaced by saplings, in the 2006 inspector general’s report, according to the Washington Post.
Smith, however, was accused of forcing subordinates to give the clearing a greenlight without allowing environmental experts or the public to weigh in.
By that point, he’d been moved to Colonial National Historical Park. Smith told the Washington Post in 2006 he’d been reprimanded but committed “nothing tawdry.”
“It was a legitimate request by a landowner who had a legitimate issue with the Park Service,” he said.
Twitter had a field day with Smith’s reported appointment by the Trump administration:
P. Daniel Smith's actions are a disgrace to what the National Park Service is all about. OF COURSE that's the person trump would pick. I'm utterly disgusted. https://t.co/J8pnuf4jgW
— Hillary was right! (@AprilStearns) January 7, 2018
@POTUS P Daniel Smith is now promoted to deputy director of National Park Service after breaking environmental laws allowing elites to cut down over 100 trees. This is outrageous. Seems our parks are at risk in your administration. Please reassess.
— daisy (@brianscalifgirl) January 7, 2018
— Shlomo (@yourbuddyshlomo) January 7, 2018
SAT analogy alert (can't make this stuff up)–
P. Daniel Smith: National Park Service
Scott Pruit: EPA
Jeff Sessions: DOJ
I fear the list goes on.
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) January 6, 2018
Here's the IG report from 2006 on how Redskins owner Dan Snyder got NPS approval to cut down trees overlooking the Potomac. P. Daniel Smith, who IG said put 'undue influence' on NPS officials to approve the cutting, becomes NPS's acting director today https://t.co/z7XfKwmKpt pic.twitter.com/wvrodPpdH6
— Timothy Cama (@Timothy_Cama) January 8, 2018