The Wilderness Society announces new president

Doug Walker, who chairs The Wilderness Society’s governing council, said Williams has a “track record of outstanding achievement and a well-earned reputation for succeeding in every endeavor.”

Williams spent two decades in several roles at The Nature Conservancy, and also helped found The Montana Association of Land Trusts and the Heart of the Rockies Initiative, among other roles, according to his new employers.

He has an undergraduate degree from Yale University and a master’s degree from the The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. 

Conservation groups, with the ascendancy of Republicans on Capitol Hill, have been playing defense politically on several issues.

Republicans have revived efforts allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other regions, and have thwarted an Interior Department initiative to preserve areas that have not received an official wilderness designation from Congress.

President Obama, in a speech Friday, argued that conservation provides an economic boost. But some of his administration's decisions have also angered green groups, including The Wilderness Society.

The group is among several battling Shell Oil's plan to drill in Arctic waters off Alaska's coast, which has received partial Interior Department approval but still must clear some permitting hurdles.