Congressional Delegation Congratulates Alaskan Joe Balash on Confirmation as Assistant Secretary of the Interior

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young, all R-Alaska, today issued the following statements after the U.S. Senate voted 61-38 to confirm Alaskan Joe Balash to be the next U.S. Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the Department of the Interior

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Click image or here to view Senator Sullivan’s floor statement

“Today I’m pleased to see that after weeks of partisan gridlock, Joe Balash was finally confirmed as a U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals,” said Senator Sullivan. “Joe’s work throughout the years as a public servant in Alaska – including as the Commissioner of the state’s Department of Natural Resources—will serve him well in his new role. He understands how to build consensus, how to navigate state and federal interests, and importantly, how to work to develop our resources, and grow our economy while always understanding that our lands sustain us and stringent environmental safeguards are absolutely necessary for all Americans. His position at DOI will be a big gain for Secretary Zinke, the Department of the Interior, the United States and Alaska.”

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Click image or here to view Senator Murkowski’s floor statement

“I congratulate Joe on his confirmation to be Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management and thank Secretary Zinke for selecting an Alaskan for this critical role,” Senator Murkowski said. “He has demonstrated that he is both capable and willing to work with everyone, from hunters to tribes to environmentalists and conservationists, on the stewardship of our public lands. His discipline, determination, and broad knowledge and expertise on energy and resource policy, will enable him to be a strong partner for Secretary Zinke and a strong advocate for Alaskans and the American people.”  

“Joe Balash’s confirmation is great news for the Department of the Interior and for Alaskans,” said Congressman Young. “He is a true public servant with a proven track record of advocating for responsible resource development. His knowledge and expertise make him exceptionally qualified for this job. In this new role, I am confident that he will continue to use his experience on energy and resource policy to lead necessary reforms and enhance policies at the Department.”

The Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management is one of six assistant secretaries at the Department and is responsible for overseeing several important agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Senator Lisa Murkowski, held a nomination hearing for Joe Balash on September 7, 2017. Balash was reported favorably out of the Committee with near unanimous support on September 19, 2017. Prior to today’s vote, both Senators Murkowski and Sullivan spoke on the Senate floor in favor of Joe Balash’s confirmation.  Balash hails from the community of North Pole, AK. He previously served as the Chief of Staff for Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and as both the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.

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