Exclusive: extractive industry companies who met with Kathleen Benedetto later saw direct benefits from administration decisions
A key Trump administration official scheduled approximately twice as many sessions with mining and fossil-fuel representatives as with environmental groups, public records petitions have revealed.
Further investigation shows that some of the firms she met afterward benefited immediately from administration decisions that weakened wilderness and wildlife protections.
As is the case with other prominent interior department officials appointed by the department secretary, Ryan Zinke, the official work calendar of his senior consultant Kathleen Benedetto indicates the remarkable access that the extractive industries have to the Trump administration.
” It attains it look like[ Benedetto] is the fixer for mining companies ,” said Aaron Weiss, a staffer at Center for Western Priorities, an environmental group. The interior department did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The interior department oversees hundreds of millions of acres of public land and helps choose how it is protected and used. It is moving to open up swaths of these lands and waters to drilling, mining and other resource exploitation.
Benedetto, who helps oversee the Bureau of Land Management( BLM ), is a longtime supporter of the mining industry. Before joining the administration, she worked as a mining consultant and geologist and was the co-founder of the Women’s Mining Coalition, a grassroots group that advocates on Capitol Hill. She was also a longtime staffer on the House natural resources committee.
Benedetto made her pities clear during a Denver meeting she attended with BLM staff in July.
” A large amount of federal estate is being managed for conservation purposes ,” which restriction other uses, she said, according to notes from the meeting compiled by the BLM Wyoming state director, Mary Jo Rugwell, and obtained by the Western Values Project.” She stressed that it takes minerals( as a raw material) to drive progression .”