Interior’s Second-in-Command Nominee Fast-Tracks Oil Corporation’s Permit

New Reporting Details Deputy Director Nominee Kate MacGregor’s Alliances to Oil and Gas Interests 

Kate MacGregor, Interior’s Deputy Chief of Staff and Deputy Secretary nominee, previously fast-tracked and approved an oil drilling permit that career public servants within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had determined was “incomplete” and “deficient,” reporting from Reveal details. 

“Under the Trump administration, we’re seeing the culture of corruption trickle-down effect. Political appointees like Kate MacGregor are skirting legally required review processes and ignoring science and career officials all so that oil and gas corporations can benefit at the expense of America’s public lands. MacGregor’s ethically questionable actions and cozy relationship with extractive industry, oil and gas associations, and lobbyists should immediately disqualify her from Interior’s deputy secretary post. It’s long past time for senators to stand up for our public lands and reject corrupt nominees like MacGregor,” said Western Values Project Deputy Director Jayson O’Neill. 

Kate MacGregor, along with six other high-level political appointees went to exceptional lengths to fast-track a drilling permit for Cimarex, a large oil and gas drilling company, according to emails recovered from a public documents request. In order to expedite their permit and ensure it’s approval, Cimarex went to the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) – a powerful lobbying firm and former client of Secretary Bernhardt’s – who then turned to MacGregor. The permit sought by Cimarex was acquired within 16 days after MacGregor was contacted by IPAA. 

Audio obtained by Reveal and shared with Western Values Project shows a new mantra for many oil and gas industry representatives and lobbyists: “We’ll call Kate” became the go-to solution when the oil and gas industry had issues with permitting requirements.

MacGregor is now nominated to be Sec. Bernhardt’s second-in-command, and has done much of Sec. Bernhardt’s bidding for his former legal and lobbying clients. 

O’Neill continued, “These revelations show that Kate MacGregor is another D.C. swamp creature too closely aligned with special interests and industry, and is doing the bidding of Interior Secretary Bernhardt’s former extractive industry clients.” 

Kate MacGregor was nominated to be Interior Deputy Secretary on October 1, 2019. Currently, she is serving as the Acting Deputy Secretary and Bernhardt’s Chief of Staff. MacGregor is a long-standing Washington insider and an ally of industry. She has worked as a lobbyist, and has spent years on Capitol Hill, helping craft and implement a “legislative agenda” to “advance U.S. oil and gas development on federal lands.” MacGregor has repeatedly supported the oil and gas industry’s agenda, even praising legislation that would allow pipelines through national parks. 

MacGregor’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee nomination hearing is scheduled for tomorrow at 10:00 am ET. New updates to Kate MacGregor’s full profile can be found on, Western Values Project’s one-stop resource that documents Trump’s revolving-door between special interest lobbyists and political appointees at the Department of the Interior.

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