WASHINGTON — Tommy Beaudreau is stepping down from his post as the No. 2 official at the U.S. Interior Department.
Beaudreau grew up in Alaska during the 1980s and has gone on to spend 10 years working at the Interior Department. He has worn several hats at Interior, including chief of staff and director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. He has served the last two years as deputy secretary, a role in which he’s influenced Alaska public lands and resource development policy.
Beaudreau will leave his position at Interior at the end of October, according to a department statement.
Asked what’s next for Beaudreau, Interior Department spokesperson Giovanni Rocco said, “We have nothing more to add.”
Beaudreau said it has been “the greatest honor of my career” to serve in the Biden administration under Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
“I will always cherish the opportunities I’ve had to work with the best career staff in federal service and diverse communities across the United States to help figure out solutions to some of the most challenging problems facing our country,” Beaudreau said in a statement.
Among the most consequential decisions during his tenure as deputy secretary was Interior’s approval of ConocoPhillip’s massive oil project on the North Slope, Willow. Beaudreau signed the record of decision green-lighting a scaled-down version of the project in March.
His work has also touched the department’s decision to reverse course on a Trump-era approval of a long-disputed road from King Cove and recently canceled oil leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Beaudreau has also overseen Interior’s implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. He visited Alaska in August to tout broadband investments and other department projects in the state.
Beaudreau has a close relationship with Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who backed his nomination for Interior deputy secretary.
“Over the two years that the deputy secretary has been there in the administration, we’ve worked on many issues together — most notably Willow — and the secretary has always been a straight shooter with me,” Murkowski told reporters Wednesday. “Even when there’s bad news, he will read me into it. I came to really welcome his input on really hard, challenging matters. And I think that his contribution there in the Department of Interior was significant.”
It is unclear who President Joe Biden will nominate to replace Beaudreau. Murkowski said she hopes to have input on the next deputy secretary and that the nominee be someone she trusts.
“The Department of Interior portfolio is very extensive, and having somebody with the understanding of oil and gas matters, of public lands matters, like Tommy Beaudreau did, gave me a level of trust,” she said.
Haaland called Beaudreau a “valued counselor and friend” in the statement announcing his departure.
“His legacy will continue as we carry on our work to implement President Biden’s historic Investing in America agenda and steward our public lands and waters for the American people,” she said.