Alaska's Joe Balash has resigned as assistant Interior secretary for the Trump administration.
Balash's resignation, submitted Tuesday, will go into effect Aug. 30. Balash wrote in a letter addressed to the president that serving the Trump administration was one of the highlights of his career and something he would "one day tell [his] grandchildren about."
Among the accomplishments included in his letter, Balash listed a number of large-scale policy shifts he considered successes: lifting regulations on offshore drilling in Alaska waters and moving forward the process of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration, among others.
Balash did not cite a reason for his resignation in his letter, but told Alaska Public Media he is resigning to "pursue another opportunity," the details of which he said he would divulge at a later date.
The former North Pole resident was confirmed to his position as the Interior Department's assistant secretary for land and minerals management in 2017, assigned to oversee the Bureaus of Land Management and Ocean Energy Management. He previously served as commissioner of the state of Alaska's Department of Natural Resources.
Balash also previously served as chief of staff for Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan.
Sullivan released a statement Wednesday commending Balash.
“Joe Balash has been a dedicated public servant for over 20 years,” Sullivan said. “During his tenure at the Department of the Interior, he worked tirelessly to promote the goal of American energy dominance and understood that Alaska was key to that goal. In doing so, he has helped set Alaska up for success for years to come. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.