Internal calendars show Interior’s workings ahead of Willow

By Robin Bravender | 03/29/2024 01:23 PM EDT

Top Interior Department officials’ schedules shed light on how the Biden administration approached that key energy and public lands decision.  

Deputy Interior Secretary Tommy Beaudreau testifies during a hearing.

Former Deputy Interior Secretary Tommy Beaudreau testifying in 2022 during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on Capitol Hill. Francis Chung/POLITICO

Then-Interior Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau had a lot on his plate on a March Friday early last year — including a looming decision on a contentious Alaska drilling project — and his schedule was jam-packed.

His official workday kicked off with an 8 a.m. call and concluded at 6 p.m. after a confab with EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. In between, Beaudreau interfaced with the White House’s top regulatory official, the White House deputy chief of staff, deputy secretaries from departments across the government, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and White House aide John Podesta, according to Beaudreau’s publicly released schedules.

It was all in a day’s work for Beaudreau, who left the post as Interior’s second-in-command last fall after playing a central role in implementing the Biden administration’s agenda on energy and public lands. Beaudreau was also key in communicating with other government agencies, the White House, Capitol Hill and outside groups, the calendars show. Laura Daniel-Davis stepped in last year as Interior’s acting deputy secretary.


It’s standard practice for deputy secretaries to play a central part in coordinating with other departments, said David Hayes, a former Biden administration White House official who served as Interior’s deputy secretary during both the Obama and Clinton administrations.