In a blow to the embattled law firm Balch & Bingham, the Trump Administration has quietly decided to nominate Jeffrey Bossert Clark instead of Jeffrey H. Wood, a former lobbyist and partner at Balch, as Assistant U.S. Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division.
The decision was made days after the CDLU sent dispatches to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary calling on them to block the Wood nomination, writing, “We have asked Mr. Wood to resign in his acting capacity because blatant economic racism and environmental injustice cannot be tolerated. Anyone involved in an alleged conspiracy to suppress African-Americans is unfit to serve in the U.S. Department of Justice. If he refuses to resign, we want his eventual nomination to be blocked.”
In an explosive report published May 11, 2017, al.com reported how Balch & Bingham dumped $134,000 into a foundation run by an alleged corrupt politician, Oliver Robinson, who in turn disenfranchised African-Americans from testing their toxic and contaminated property under EPA rules in 2015 and 2016.
According to lobbying disclosure reports, Wood met on Capitol Hill to discuss CERCLA/Superfund laws and policies in the second quarter and third quarters of 2016.
In an email sent on May 12, 2017 to Wood, the CDLU asked, “Did you at any time provide intelligence or knowledge back to your colleagues at Balch? Were you at any time asked to provide advice regarding the matters on 35th Avenue/North Birmingham? You were working at Balch when this alleged scheme to suppress African-Americans occurred.”
On May 15, the CDLU reviewed a U.S. Department of Justice memo from February saying, because of his work at Balch, Wood would be recused from any “CERCLA matters related to the North Birmingham CERCLA site in Alabama.”
The CDLU declared, “Wood’s fingerprints are on this debacle.”
Only hours after taking the oath of office, President Trump had appointed Wood, who worked in Balch’s Energy and Environmental and Natural Resources practices out of their Washington, D.C. office, as his acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General for Environment and Natural Resources Division.