Following the Senate’s vote to confirm Joseph Balash as the assistant secretary for land and minerals management at the Department of the Interior, Chris Saeger, executive director of the Western Values Project released this statement:
“Secretary Zinke has worked tirelessly to fill the halls of the Interior Department with Washington insiders, lobbyists and special interests while shutting out the people of the West. Coupled with this week’s devastating announcement to gut protections for public lands, Joseph Balash’s nomination is just the latest example of how far Zinke is willing to go to keep the oil and gas industry happy.”
More on Joseph Balash:
Joseph Balash has a long history of favoring special interests over people in his home state of Alaska. In 2013, Balash was cited as one of the “key players on Gov. Sean Parnell’s bill to lower oil taxes.” In 2014, Balash used his time as the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources to claim nearly 20,000 acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to be offered for oil and gas leasing. He then approved lowered royalty rates on several leases operated by oil company Caelus Energy.
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