By Miriam Raftery
November 12, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Viejas Chairman Anthony Pico met with Steve Black, a senior counselor to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, on February 28, 2012 and sent Black a letter on March 5, 2012 asking him to visit Ocotillo to address tribal concerns over desecration of cultural resources from the proposed Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility (which was since approved and built). Donna Tisdale, then with Protect Our Communities, has documents showing Black was also involved with federal approval of the controversial Tule Wind project, fielding requests from Iberdrola Renewables to help gain approval of the project in East County despite concerns about eagles.
Neither Pico nor Tisdale had any idea that Black was dating an energy company lobbyist at the time – or that he sought to gain a job as chief executive officer of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the wind industry's trade group, while still employed at the Department of the Interior. But an investigation by the Department of Interior's Inspector General has raised these concerns and more.