Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced has named Laura Daniel-Davis as acting deputy secretary, effective immediately. Daniel-Davis is a controversial pick, as she has an active ethics complaint against her by the watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust.
She replaces Tommy Beaudreau, who after serving more than two years as deputy secretary and a decade at Interior, announced he would leave at the end of October. Beaudreau, who lived in Alaska growing up, served his last day for Haaland on Tuesday.
With more than three decades of experience in the public and well-funded leftist environmentalist sectors, Daniel-Davis previously held the position of principal deputy assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the Interior Department. That position is now unfilled.
In 2022, Protect the Public’s Trust filed an ethics complaint against her for improperly influencing policy decisions on behalf of the National Wildlife Federation, where Daniel-Davis had previously worked. The National Wildlife Federation had sued the Interior Department over oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and after joining the Interior Department, Daniel-Davis was involved in the cancellation of nine leases in the ANWR coastal plain.
However, Secretary Deb Haaland sees Daniel-Davis as an invaluable ally. “There are few people who have been by my side more over the past two and a half years than Laura, and I am so grateful that she has agreed to step into this role as we work together to implement President Biden’s ambitious and historic agenda,” said Haaland. “Laura has a depth of experience that will be invaluable in our work to build a clean energy future, honor our commitments to Indigenous communities, and leave our air, water, and public lands better for future generations.”
In response to her appointment, Laura Daniel-Davis stated, “The work of the Department of the Interior touches all Americans, and I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as Acting Deputy Secretary. We will continue to work in partnership with states, Tribes, industry, non-profit organizations, and academia to ensure that the best available science guides our decision-making as we deliver on our promises to the American people.”
Daniel-Davis has been paid for more than 14 years of service by the Department of the Interior across multiple administrations. She served as Chief of Staff to Interior Secretaries Sally Jewell and Ken Salazar during the Obama-Biden administration and worked at the department during the Clinton-Gore administration in various roles, including Associate Director of Congressional and Legislative Affairs.
During the Trump Administration, she switched over to the advocacy side. Daniel-Davis served as chief of policy and advocacy for the National Wildlife Federation, and had a key role in advocating for various anti-resource development initiatives.