U.S. Interior Department Assistant Secretary Joe Balash, one of the highest-placed Alaskans in President Donald Trump’s administration, has resigned.
His boss, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, announced it by tweet Tuesday afternoon.
— Secretary David Bernhardt (@SecBernhardt) August 20, 2019
Balash was confirmed in 2017 as Interior’s assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management. He oversees the bureaus of Land Management and Ocean Energy Management. He’s been working to prepare for the first oil lease sale in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
In his resignation letter, Balash does not cite a reason. He said he’s proud of the work he’s done, including lifting regulations on resource extraction industries, and the environmental work on ANWR.
“Implementing your executive orders promoting energy independence and economic growth are a career highlight that I will one day tell my grandchildren about,” Balash wrote in his letter addressed to Trump.
In a brief phone call, Balash said he’s resigning to pursue another opportunity, which he said he’d describe at a later date. His resignation takes effect Aug. 30.
Balash grew up in North Pole and previously worked as Alaska’s commissioner of Natural Resources as well as chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska.
— Nat Herz (@Nat_Herz) August 20, 2019
Alaska has a lot going on right now.
Never miss the important parts with insightful (and entertaining) news from The Signal, the best weekly Alaska news email.
- Alaska state lawmakers say they're looking forward to learning what Dunleavy’s plans are for the budget.
- A hiker stranded overnight on Mount Roberts was retrieved by local authorities Friday, according to the Alaska State Troopers.
- With this grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the institute says it’s about 70% to its goal for this project.
- “We will remain an accredited university. Period. End of report," says University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen.