Matt McKeown is the Deputy Solicitor for the United States Department of the Interior. As the second highest ranking legal officer for the Department of the Interior, Matt oversees a team of over 400 lawyers and support staff. Prior to taking on the responsibilities of Deputy Solicitor, Matt served as Associate Solicitor for Land and Water. Matt's first position with the Bush Administration's team at the Interior Department was Special Assistant to the Solicitor.
During his tenure at the Interior Department, Matt has worked on many projects that have had a fundamental impact on property rights. He negotiated a landmark settlement involving thousands of stock watering water right claims where the federal government recognized for the first time that public land grazers have a property interest in the water that their livestock consume on federal land. Matt has coordinated the Department's legal work on the Healthy Forest Initiative. He negotiated a series of settlements aimed at improving the implementation of the Northwest forest plan that will result in a more reliable supply of timber from federal land for timber dependent communities in the Pacific Northwest. Matt negotiated the memorandum of understanding between the Department and the State of Utah that for the first time sets out a process for resolving the ownership of R.S. 2477 rights-of-way. And he helped negotiate the settlement that recognizes that wilderness must be managed in a way that is consistent with federal law.
Prior to joining the Bush administration's team at Interior, Matt was a Deputy Attorney General for the State of Idaho where he worked on local government and natural resource issues. His work for the State of Idaho included defending two voter initiatives and imposing term limits. He also litigated the State of Idaho's successful challenge to the Clinton administration's "roadless rules."