BLM Asks Interior Department for New Henke Probe

By Tracy Dingmann

Citing “new information,” the director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has asked federal investigators to reopen a probe into former Farmington BLM manager and current New Mexico Oil and Gas Association president Steve Henke.

According to an Oct. 25 story in the Farmington Daily Times, Henke faces renewed questions regarding his tenure leading the BLM’s Farmington office after a previous investigation by the U.S. Department of the Interior found he accepted golf vacations and other gifts from the oil and gas industry.

Before retiring from the BLM in May, Henke served for nine years as district manager of the BLM’s Farmington field office. He is now president of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, a trade group that advocates for industry interests.

Continue reading

Revive BLM Coziness Probe, Watchdog Group Says

By Tracy Dingmann

A federal government oversight group is calling for the U.S. Department of Interior to further investigate former Bureau of Land Management manager and current New Mexico Oil and Gas Association president Steve Henke for taking gifts from the industry he once regulated.

Henke, who was the BLM’s district manager in Farmington, left the BLM last spring in the wake of an Interior Department investigation that found he had improperly accepted gifts and favors from a number of companies he was in charge of regulating. Henke retired and was not sanctioned by the BLM.

We wrote about the curious facts in the Henke case on Clearly back in September (read: “A Case of Excessive Coziness with Oil and Gas”) and noted that five local and national environmental groups have asked Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for further investigation into the allegations. We also noted that the groups want Salazar to look into how much contact Henke had with NMOGA while he was still with the BLM and in charge of regulating oil and gas companies.

Now the Project on Government Oversight is asking the Interior Department has joined the chorus of voices asking the Interior Department to revisit the investigation.

Continue reading