Skip to Main Content
Project on Government Oversight




Onshore Drilling Regulator Becomes President of Industry Group

July 16, 2010 


Providing yet another example of how important it is to close the revolving door between the Interior Department and industry, an industry advocacy group has just named a former Bureau of Land Management (BLM) field manager to be their president.


As the Farmington Daily Times reports, Steve Henke, the new president of New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA), was selected as an "ideal choice" because of how well he worked with industry while he was at BLM.


"This is just gross," said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project On Government Oversight. "In the wake of the Gulf disaster, it is unbelievable that Interior is not getting the message to stop the revolving door between itself and industry."


The Farmington Daily Times article also suggests that Henke just doesn't get it when it comes to the revolving door, quoting him as saying that, as president of the industry trade group, he hopes he will be "afforded the opportunity to sit at the table with policy makers and legislators to describe the impact and the role" his organization can play in "issue resolution." Presumably these policymakers are the same people he got to sit at the table with as a BLM regional manager.


All this, of course, raises questions about whether the former regional office manager was serving taxpayer interests when he was on the General Schedule.


Henke retired from BLM in May.


Expanded language about what constitutes improper behavior in the House's Consolidated Land and Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act of 2010 H.R. 3534 – S. 3516 passed out of committee yesterday, and the Senate's Outer Continental Shelf Reform Act of 2010 should curb this kind of behavior.


"If there was ever an example of the need for an ethical overhaul, this is it," said Brian.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

# # #