Wednesday, June 22, 2005
President Taps Wooldridge, Onetime Lungren Aide, to Be Nation’s Top Environmental Lawyer
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Sue Ellen Wooldridge, a former Sacramento lawyer who was a top aide to Dan Lungren during the latter part of his tenure as state attorney general, will be nominated to be assistant attorney general in charge of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Justice Department, the White House has announced.
Wooldridge, 44, has been solicitor for the Department of the Interior since last year. Prior to that, she was deputy chief and counselor to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, a post she assumed right after Norton became secretary in 2001.
Wooldridge worked with Norton when the latter was Colorado attorney general and Wooldridge was special assistant attorney general for California, working on the national tobacco settlement.
The nominee-to-be is a native of Riverside who grew up in Northern California’s Glenn County, where her father was a school superintendent, before going on to UC Davis and Harvard Law School.
She returned to California after law school, joining the Sacramento office of Diepenbrock, Wulff, Plant & Hannegan, where she primarily litigated insurance, employment, and construction cases.
Lungren, a former partner in the Diepenbrock firm, hired Wooldridge as a legal and policy advisor in July 1994. In addition to working on the tobacco settlement, she helped negotiate a settlement of nearly $200 million in a False Claims Act suit against the Bank of America, helped manage other litigation, and lobbied the Legislature.
After Lungren left office, she became a founding partner in the Sacramento firm of Riegels Campos & Kenyon LLP, where her clients included the National Association of Attorneys General, working on the enforcement of the tobacco settlement. She was also general counsel for the Fair Political Practices Commission from September 2000 until she was named to the deputy chief of staff position by Norton.
If confirmed by the Senate, Wooldridge would head a division that calls itself “the largest environmental law firm in the country.” It represents the government in all litigation involving prevention and clean up of pollution, environmental challenges to federal programs and activities, stewardship of public lands and natural resources, acquisition of property for federal needs, wildlife protection, and Native American rights and claims.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company