Megan Bloomgren

Position: 
Communications Director - American Petroleum Institute
Biography: 

Megan Bloomgren is a 2001 graduate of La Salle University where she studied Political Science and Business. From college, she volunteered for Dick Cheney in the Bush Cheney 2000 ticket.

Upon graduation, she became a consultant of Government Practice at Accenture, a consulting firm.

Starting in May 2004 she held a variety of government positions during the Bush presidency. Most notably she was the Deputy Press Secretary for the EPA for 7 months in 2005, the Deputy Communications Director for the White House Council on Environmental Quality from July 2005 to March 2006, and from March 2006 to May 2008, she functioned as the Press Secretary and Deputy Director of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy according to her LinkedIn account.

In 2008 she transitioned out of government by working as the Vice President of Strategy for the Institute for 21st Century Energy in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce until June 2011, when she joined the DCI Group as a partner, according to her LinkedIn account.

She served as the Communication Director for the Department of the Interior (DOI) in 2017, as reported by E&E News.

It has been reported that she will transitioning out of the DOI and will begin to work for The American Petroleum Institute, an oil lobby group.

Evidence: 

Vice President of Strategy for the Institute for 21st Century Energy in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce from 2008 through 2011.  

While Bloomgren held a strategic role, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy criticized the Department of the Interior’s Five Year Plan (2012-2017) describing it as a “major step backward for the security of America’s energy future”.

Specifically, they criticized the absence of leases for oil and gas drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, and Pacific coasts for the 2012-2017 period. They urged the Department of the Interior to sell leases to oil and gas companies so that there can be energy development in these zones.

The Institute for 21st Century Energy continued that the Five-Year Plan (2012-2017) “still leaves billions of barrels of American oil and significant reserves of natural gas under lock and key”. They went on to stress that there should have been more oil and gas leases sold in the Five-Year Plan.

The Institute for 21st Century Energy and Department of the Interior Connections

Megan Bloomgren worked for the Department of the Interior while the agency was ordered through executive order to issue a new Five Year Plan for 2017-2022. The Executive Order calls for all current leases that are scheduled to be sold with the current plan to be honored. The Department of the Interior must reevaluate the decision not to sell leases in select regions and to consider selling additional leases in off-shore areas during the 2017-2022 period. The unusual call for a new Five Year Plan is expected to increase both the number of leases issued and expand the regions included.

The executive order specifically mentions many of the same areas that the Institute for 21st Century Energy urged the Department of the Interior to expand to in the previous Five-Year Plan. This urging came while Megan Bloomgren was working as the Vice President of Strategy in the Institute for 21st Century Energy. She is in some capacity involved in the executive order as evidenced by her role as a senior staff member and further by her role as the Communications Director for the Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke.

Direct Involvement in Pro-drilling and Anti-Regulation Efforts

Megan Bloomgren participated in working meetings hosted by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry to discuss the Gulf moratorium efforts while involved with the Institute for 21st Century Energy. Her involvement was even specifically mentioned on the Institute for 21st Century Energy’s website. 

While Megan Bloomgren was employed by the Institute for 21st Century Energy, they released a “Roadmap for Energy Policy Action” which called for the end of all “limitations and moratorium on exploration and production of domestic resources on our lands and on the Outer Continental Shelf…permanently”. She has been in some capacity involved in the executive order to evaluate regulations as evidenced by her role as a senior staff member and her role as the Communications Director for the Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, and a meeting with the Western Energy Alliance (an oil funded front group).

The Department of the Interior has been mandated to identify two regulations for removal when attempting to add an additional regulation, following a January executive order. This specifically impacts oil and gas companies since many of the regulations overseen by the Department of the Interior involve oil and gas companies and leases. While Megan Bloomgren worked for the Institute for 21st Century Energy, they called for the permanent removal of all limitations on exploration and production by oil and gas companies – which included regulations. Megan Bloomgren has been involved in this executive order as evidenced by her role as a senior staff member and by her role as the Communications Director for the Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, and a meeting with the Western Energy Alliance (an oil funded front group).

Second-Rate Science Used as Justification

The Science Applied International Corporation (SAIC) and the Gas Technology Institute partnered to report greater concentrations of natural gas and oil reserves on US land than was previously determined by the Department of Energy.  In response, the Institute for 21st Century Energy stated, “We are hopeful that the results of this study will serve as an impetus for the Department of Interior to revisit its stance on oil and gas exploration”.

But the report was (1) not blind peer reviewed, (2) not published in an accredited scientific journal, (3) openly subsidized by the Institute for 21st Century Energy, (3) conducted in part by the Gas Technology Institute with a Board of Directors dominated by oil and gas company employees and its Chairman is an employee at WGL Holding, INC., a natural gas company.

The Institute for 21st Century’s Opposition to Oil Taxes

After additional taxes on oil companies were proposed in 2011, the Institute for 21st Century Energy stated, “We urge Congress to reject those new taxes, and to do what it can to open up more areas of exploration”. They have frequently made many similar statements during the time Megan Bloomgren was employed as their Vice President of Strategy.

The Institute for 21st Century’s Opposition to Increased Oil Spill Liability

When the federal government considered removing the cap on liabilities that oil companies would have to face after an oil spill, following the 2010 BP oil spill, spokeswoman for the Institute for 21st Century Energy stated that holding oil companies liable “might make it difficult for companies to finance new exploration in the United States”. Implying the future of oil investments are more important than oil companies paying for the damages they caused.

The Institute for 21st Century’s Opposition to Initial Research before Drilling

The Department of the Interior announced that it wanted to first study the water, power and land-use issues before selling oil and gas leases in select parts of the Mountain West, promised by the previous administration. Following this announcement, the Institute for 21st Century Energy criticized this action by stating “despite the valuable progress being made in the development of new energy sources and technologies, there is still no viable substitute for oil”, stressing their disapproval of the lack of drilling despite the known but not yet understood risks. 

Partner for the DCI Group from 2011 to 2017.

Between 2011 and 2016 Exxon Mobil has paid a total of 1.62 million dollars for DCI’s lobbying efforts.

With the following payments: $320,000 (2011), $320,000 (2012), $320,000 (2013), $320,000 (2014), 320,000 (2015), and $20,000 (2016).

In 2016, Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private coal company, filed bankruptcy. In their filing the creditors that received funding were published including DCI group. The uniqueness of this document disclosure was the link between Peabody Energy and their vast financial ties to a large proportion of the groups that promote disinformation about climate change.

The DCI Group has a history of promoting disinformation about climate change. Between 2003 and 2006, DCI Group created and ran a phony news site, Tech Central Station, to promote climate change denial and skepticism.