Tommy Beaudreau, who has helped lead the U.S. Department of Interior as deputy secretary for more than two years, is stepping down at the end of this month.
The Colorado native has been with the department for nearly a decade, though not continuously. He served under the Obama administration and then returned to government service under President Biden after working for a large law firm representing the energy and environmental industry during the Trump administration.
In 2011, Beaudreau was the first director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management where he oversaw 1.7 billion acres of submerged lands, subsoil and seabed under the purview of the U.S. He pushed for rule changes to manage offshore natural resources in the aftermath of the lethal explosion of an deep-sea oil rig called Deepwater Horizon in 2010. The accident caught national attention after 11 crew members died, and Beaudreau came in with a regulatory overhaul to stand up three new agencies to separate resource management from safety oversight.
That made him an attractive candidate for deputy secretary in 2021 as Biden looked to deliver climate change reform that could weather a divided Congress. The self-proclaimed forever Westerner said before the Senate during one of his nomination hearings that his Alaska upbringing gave him an appreciation for America’s natural landscape.
Beaudreau was confirmed to deputy secretary in a bipartisan 88-9 vote.
In working under Secretary Deb Haaland, Beaudreau’s role has expanded to take on enterprise-level initiatives affecting several of the department’s 11 bureaus, employing a total of 70,000 people.
“I love the Interior Department, and it has been the greatest honor and responsibility of my career to serve as Secretary Haaland’s deputy in the Biden-Harris administration,” Beaudreau said in a statement. “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.”
He’s chaired the department’s Law Enforcement Task Force, which last year updated a suite of policies to begin requiring body-worn cameras for many of the agency’s 3,400 officers working in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service.
Like many agency heads, Beaudreau has also been forced to confront cyber threats that target federal agencies’ data and infrastructure networks.
Inspector general and watchdog reports have said Interior has taken some steps to staff up its cybersecurity workforce and address lingering weaknesses in IT, which affect “Interior’s own security environment and its oversight of offshore oil and gas infrastructure,” per the Government Accountability Office.
Beaudreau is a graduate of Yale University and received his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Molly Weisner is a staff reporter for Federal Times where she covers labor, policy and contracting pertaining to the government workforce. She made previous stops at USA Today and McClatchy as a digital producer, and worked at The New York Times as a copy editor. Molly majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.