Secretary Salazar Swears in David J. Hayes as Deputy Secretary of the Interior

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – David J. Hayes, one of the nation's foremost natural resource experts, was officially sworn in today as Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior, the second-highest-ranking official at the department. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar administered the swearing-in ceremony.

“This is a great and long-awaited day at the Department of the Interior,” Salazar said. “David Hayes brings a powerful combination of expertise and management experience dealing with complex natural resources and environmental challenges, including climate change policy,” Salazar said. “He has a strong record, thoughtful common sense approach and a steady management hand. He is a key part of our leadership team as we carry out President Obama's vision for our nation's economic and environmental recovery.”

President Obama nominated Hayes for the number two leadership position at Interior on February 27, 2009. The Senate confirmed him on May 20, at which time Secretary Salazar issued a statement that he welcomed the lifting of a hold on the nomination because “David is exceptionally qualified for this position and will bring intelligence, integrity and passion to the job.”

As Deputy Secretary, Hayes has the statutory responsibility as the Chief Operating Officer to help lead a Department of almost 70,000 employees and a budget of about $16 billion, including annual appropriations and permanent funding.

Hayes previously served as the Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior from 1999 to 2001, during which time he played a lead role in helping introduce modern water management approaches in the West, settling long-standing Indian water and land disputes, and establishing new national parks, including Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.

Most recently, Hayes was a leader in President Obama's Transition Team, heading the agency review process for the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Hayes was a partner at Latham & Watkins, where he earned distinction as one of the nation's top natural resource lawyers. In 2007 and 2008, he was a consulting professor at Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment, where he led a project to find achievable and practical climate change policy solutions.

Hayes graduated summa cum laude from Notre Dame in 1975, received his J.D. from Stanford in 1978, and was an editor of the Stanford Law Review. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Visitors for Stanford Law School. He and his wife, Elizabeth Haile Hayes, have three children, Katherine, Stephen, and Molly.

A biographical statement and image of David Hayes is online at

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