Top Interior Nomination Halted over Offshore Drilling Concerns

MacGregor Has a Long History of Bowing to Oil and Gas Industry Demands; Potentially Perjured Herself in Front of Congress

Kate MacGregor’s nomination to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior has been put on hold due to concerns about her stance in favor of expanding offshore drilling. Not only does MacGregor hold dangerous views on public lands protections and industry allowances, but also she potentially perjured herself in front of a Senate committee during her nomination hearing, putting her nomination further into question.

“President Trump and Interior Secretary Bernhardt continue to stack the deck against America’s public lands and outdoor heritage with corrupt and conflict-ridden appointees like Kate MacGregor. MacGregor’s resume is not only littered with examples of her industry allyship but during her confirmation hearing, she misled Senators about her dubious work in her previous position at Interior,” said Western Values Project Deputy Director Jayson O’Neill. “Whether it’s offshore drilling or telling the truth, Kate MacGregor’s track record and industry allegiances show that she simply cannot be trusted to protect our public lands and public resources.” 

MacGregor’s nomination was advanced out of committee despite a misleading response to 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. 

Yesterday, her nomination was halted after Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) expressed concern about the Trump administration’s “proposals to expand offshore drilling in the Sunshine State.” Indeed, MacGregor has long been a reliable ally to the oil and gas industry. In recent news, MacGregor’s industry allyship became especially clear: she 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 obtained by Reveal and shared with Western Values Project highlighted 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.

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

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.

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

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