Ex-Trump Official Who Pushed For Arctic Drilling To Join Oil Company

Congress in 2017 opened up a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil development. A Shell oil drilling rig is seen in the Chukchi Sea. (Photo: Orjan F. Ellingvag via Getty Images)
Congress in 2017 opened up a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil development. A Shell oil drilling rig is seen in the Chukchi Sea. (Photo: Orjan F. Ellingvag via Getty Images)

Joe Balash, a former Trump official who oversaw oil and gas drilling on federal lands, is reportedly joining a foreign oil company that’s expanding operations in Alaska.

News of Balash’s career move, first reported by The Washington Post, follows his resignation on Friday as assistant secretary for land and minerals management, a role he served in for nearly two years.

Balash told the Post he is joining the Papua New Guinea-based company Oil Search but declined to say what his specific role will be. A representative with the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A polar bear sow and two cubs are seen on the Beaufort Sea coast within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Joe Balash had advocated for drilling here. (Photo: Handout . / Reuters)
A polar bear sow and two cubs are seen on the Beaufort Sea coast within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Joe Balash had advocated for drilling here. (Photo: Handout . / Reuters)

Balash said he will not be lobbying his former agency, part of a Trump administration ethics pledge that bars appointees from lobbying their former agencies for five years. Instead, he said: “I’ll supervise those who do.”

“I have a ton of restrictions dealing with the Department of Interior. Most of Oil Search’s properties are state lands. There isn’t really the federal nexus,” he added.

Balash had been one of the Trump administration’s biggest advocates for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a portion of which Congress voted to open for oil development under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Balash’s resignation follows a similar path taken by former Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt, who took a consulting position with a coal company after resigning last summer amid corruption allegations. In April, he registered as a lobbyist with Indiana regulators, the Indy Star reported .

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Plan To Drill In The Arctic Refuge Is A Rush Toward Disaster, Analysis Finds

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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