Acting Second-In-Command at Interior Faces Another Confirmation Vote Despite Conflicts, Industry Ties

Senate Committee Should Not Make Same Mistake Twice on MacGregor

Today, Kate MacGregor will face a second Senate committee confirmation vote to be Deputy Interior Secretary after her original nomination was put on hold due to concerns over her industry ties. 

“The Senate should not be fooled twice on controversial industry ally Kate MacGregor. If potentially perjuring herself last time around isn’t enough to disqualify her, the 60 plus meetings with groups lobbying to expand offshore oil and gas drilling should,” said Jayson O’Neill, Deputy Director of Western Values Project. “With the swamp team Trump and Bernhardt have assembled at Interior, it’s no wonder they are pushing for this industry ally to be confirmed at all costs.”

Throughout MacGregor’s confirmation process, she faced several hurdles, including potentially perjuring herself in response to a question from Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI). MacGregor said she had not been involved in or witnessed instances of political interference in scientific research or communication; however, emails obtained by the Pacific Standard show that MacGregor was ‘keenly interested’ in a scientific study on mountain-top removal coal mining’s health effects. 

Following these misleading statements, MacGregor’s confirmation remained tenuous when Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) expressed concern about the Trump administration’s “proposals to expand offshore drilling in the Sunshine State.” MacGregor has held no less than 62 meetings with groups lobbying to expand offshore oil and gas during the just first two years of the administration.

MacGregor has long been a reliable ally to the oil and gas industry. Recent reporting revealed that MacGregor helped fast-track and approve an oil drilling permit even when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) career public servants determined it was “incomplete” and “deficient.” Audio highlighted a new mantra for many oil and gas industry representatives and lobbyists: “We’ll call Kate,” which became the go-to solution when the oil and gas industry had issues with permitting requirements.

MacGregor previously supported expanding oil and gas drilling. She also praised legislation that would allow oil pipelines to be built through National Park Service land, while failing to answer several questions about her eyebrow-raising resume. 

Previously, Western Values Project (WVP) joined dozens of other conservation organizations in sending a letter to committee members urging them to reject her nomination because of her track record driving a so-called “energy dominance” agenda for Interior, her troubling anti-conservation views, opposition to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and a demonstrated bias in favor of extractive industries.

MacGregor was originally nominated to be Deputy Interior Secretary on October 1, 2019. On January 6, 2020, MacGregor was renominated to the same position, after she failed to receive a full Senate vote.

A full profile on Kate MacGregor is available on Department of Influence, WVP’s one-stop-shop documenting Trump and Bernhardt’s revolving door between special interest lobbyists and political appointees at Interior.

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