For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121, bhartl@biologicaldiversity.org

Senate Urged to Reject Fossil Fuel Attorney Beaudreau for Deputy Interior Secretary

WASHINGTON - More than 30 conservation groups today urged members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to oppose attorney Tommy Beaudreau’s nomination for deputy Interior secretary, saying his representation of fossil fuel companies would undermine President Biden’s climate agenda.

“Tommy Beaudreau exemplifies the worst type of revolving-door cronyism, jumping back and forth between representing fossil fuel interests and working for the government,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “He has too many conflicts of interest and is too beholden to the fossil fuel industry to implement President Biden’s bold vision for ending new fossil fuel leasing on public lands and waters.”

Beaudreau’s financial disclosure report reveals numerous, deeply troubling conflicts of interests with the fossil fuel industry. As a partner in the law firm Latham & Watkins, he represented numerous coal-mining, oil and gas, pipeline development and mining companies including Arch Resources, Total, Beacon Offshore Energy, Epic Midstream, Unocal Pipeline and BHP.

Beaudreau also appears to have worked for two Saudi Arabian companies, Red Sea Development and NEOM. NEOM is connected to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who U.S. intelligence reports say is implicated in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Reports indicate that the NEOM megacity project will result in at least 20,000 members of the Huwaitat tribe being evicted from their land.

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Previously Beaudreau worked in the Obama administration, where he was the first director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management and later chief of staff to then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

After the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the worst offshore-oil spill in U.S. history, Beaudreau was tasked with reforming offshore drilling as the Interior Department’s BOEM director. Unfortunately many of the reforms failed to require use of the best safety equipment to prevent blowouts and provided industry up to seven years to comply with many of the requirements.

Beaudreau also failed to adequately address systemic problems that led to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe that were identified by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. His agency rejected calls for new environmental review processes under the National Environmental Policy Act and continued issuing risky deepwater offshore oil-drilling permits.

“Beaudreau has failed to stand up to the fossil fuel industry when it mattered most, and he’ll likely fail again if confirmed to this critical position,” said Hartl.

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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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