Washington, DC, Sept. 4, 2019 – Joe Balash, former assistant Interior secretary for land and minerals, is reportedly joining a foreign oil company that stands to benefit from Balash’s push to open the Arctic Refuge for drilling. During his time at Interior, Balash was a main driver of the Trump administration’s rushed attempt to sell off the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to fossil fuel companies.

Balash’s resignation last month came as House Democrats announced an investigation into efforts by Balash and other political appointees to suppress science in their push to hold a lease sale for the coastal plain as quickly as possible. Balash had claimed that a sale could happen as soon as the end of this year.

In response, Lena Moffitt, Senior Director of the Sierra Club’s Our Wild America campaign, released the following statement:

“Throughout his time at Interior, Joe Balash spearheaded efforts to suppress science, ignore Indigenous rights, and sell off the Arctic Refuge for drilling at all costs. Now he’s shamelessly seeking to profit from this destruction while the American people and our public lands pay the price. This is just further proof of the corruption and greed that have plagued this administration’s Arctic drilling plans from the beginning.”