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Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior

Amanda Kaster-Averill is an “Advisor” to Secretary Ryan Zinke. No further information on the details of her position is available.

After graduating from Wilkes University in 2011, Amanda Kaster-Averill began her career working in Senator Olympia Snowe’s office as a staff assistant and legislative correspondent. She then went to work on the energy team at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank that receives funding from a bevy of oil and gas companies, before returning to Capitol Hill to work for Congressman Ryan Zinke as his “energy and natural resources legislative assistant.”

Sources: [Department of the Interior, Press Release, 05/26/17, Legistorm Profile for Amanda Averill, accessed 06/02/17, Ken Silverstein, “The Bipartisan Lobbying Center: How a Washington Think Tank Advocates for Political Unity – and its Top Donors,” Harvard University, 07/09/13, and Corbin Hilar, “7 former Hill aides among 19 staffers joining Zinke’s team,” Energy & Environment, 05/30/17]

Special Interests

Bipartisan Policy Center (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Kaster-Averill worked at the Bipartisan Policy Center, which describes itself as a non-profit that that promotes ideas from both parties but is funded by oil and gas companies including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Shell.

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Background Information

Previous Employers

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

From 2013 to 2014, Amanda Kaster-Averill worked at the Bipartisan Policy Center. BPC describes itself as a “non-profit organization that combines the best ideas from both parties to promote health, security, and opportunity for all Americans,” but the organization receives its funding from oil, gas, and other energy companies including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, the Nuclear Energy Institute, and Shell.

The Bipartisan Policy Center has been called a “‘centrist think tank'” in many press accounts. However, BPC receives funding from oil, gas, and other energy companies including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, the Nuclear Energy Institute, and Shell. Additionally, BPC’s energy project’s membership list includes “CEOs and executives from Marathon Oil, ExxonMobil, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Exelon Corporation, and Southern Company.” In 2013, BPC issued a report that included “over fifty policy recommendations” on energy issues; the “chief outside consultant on the report” was lobbyist William Klinefelter “whose major clients include ExxonMobil.”

[Legistorm Profile for Amanda Averill, accessed 06/02/17, “Who We Are,” Bipartisan Policy Center, accessed 06/02/17, and Ken Silverstein, “The Bipartisan Lobbying Center: How a Washington Think Tank Advocates for Political Unity – and its Top Donors,” Harvard University, 07/09/13]

Current Activity

Amanda Kaster-Averill helped oil and gas company Petro-Hunt LLC get oil and gas leases reinstated.

In July 2017, Alan Olson, Executive Director of the Montana Petroleum Association (MPA), contacted Amanda Kaster, an Advisor to Secretary Ryan Zinke, telling her about a problem one of his member companies was having reinstating four oil and gas leases in North Dakota. The member who Alan Olson was helping was Jeff Herman, a Region Manager at Petro-Hunt, LLC in Bismarck, North Dakota. Olson asked Kaster if she could connect his member with “someone at Interior who could possibly help him out.” Kaster arranged a phone call between Olson and the Acting Assistant Secretary for Lands and Minerals. Olson and Kaster spoke again a couple weeks later. On September 26, 2017, BLM issued a notice in the Federal Register saying that three of the four leases in question had been reinstated.

[OS-2017-001063 (Sage Grouse Comms from Industry), Pages 173-174, 176, 224-225, Notice of Proposed Reinstatement of Terminated Oil and Gas Leases NDM 94704, NDM 94705, and NDM 94706, North Dakota, Federal Register, 09/26/17]

Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of the Interior salary: $75,377

[Amanda Kaster, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/15/18]

Other Information

Amanda Kaster-Averill’s husband is a registered lobbyist.

Amanda Kaster-Averill’s husband, Chris Averill, is a registered lobbyist.

[Search for Chris Averill, United States Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 06/02/17 and Legistorm Profile for Chris Averill, accessed 06/08/17]