Ex-Trump official who pushed Arctic drilling accepts job at Alaska oil drilling company
Polar Bear in the Arctic European Geosciences Union/AFP/File / Mario HOPPMANN

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that Joe Balash, the Trump administration's former assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the Department of the Interior, is taking a job with Oil Search.


Balash, who was in charge of overseeing oil and gas drilling on federal land and who resigned from the Interior Department on Friday, was one of the administration's biggest proponents of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a crucially important stretch of protected land in northern Alaska used by migratory birds, polar bears, and caribou. He oversaw the permitting of companies looking to start drilling in ANWR after a provision of the GOP tax cut bill greenlit oil exploration there.

Oil Search, a drilling company based in Papua New Guinea, is currently operating in a region directly adjacent to ANWR.

Balash is the latest of multiple former Trump officials who have transitioned to private sector jobs that potentially profit from the administration's policies during their tenure. Most notably, Scott Pruitt, the former EPA chief who resigned in disgrace amid multiple allegations of abuse of power and misuse of tax dollars, shortly began consulting for a coal tycoon.