Deputy Solicitor for Parks and Wildlife
Department of the Interior
Karen Budd-Falen was appointed by the Secretary of the Interior (DOI) as the Deputy Solicitor for Parks and Wildlife in November, 2018. Prior to her current appointment, Karen served for three years in the Reagan Administration, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C., as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. She later served as a law clerk to the Assistant Solicitor for Water and Power. In between her stints in Washington D.C., she, along with her husband Frank Falen, were the owners of a private law firm located in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Karen has also worked as an attorney at Mountain States Legal Foundation, a public interest legal foundation in Denver, Colorado.
At DOI, Karen works on issues relating to the Endangered Species Act, national wildlife refuges and National parks. While she was in private practice, Karen represented private property owners, ranching and farming organizations, and local governments. Karen has assisted local governments in asserting their rights of consistency review, cooperation and coordination in federal agency decisions; private property owners in protecting their Constitutionally guaranteed property rights, other multiple users in supporting grazing and multiple use on federal/public lands; exposing the amount of fees paid by the taxpayers under the attorney fee shifting statutes.
Some of Karen’s publications include The Right to Graze Livestock on the Federal Lands: The Historical Development of Western Grazing Rights, Idaho Law Review, Spring, 1994; Protecting Community Stability and Local Economies: Opportunities for County Government Influence in Federal Decision and Policy Making Processes, Whitman College, 1996; and Counterpoint: Opportunities Lost and Opportunities Gained: Separating Truth from Myth in the Western Ranching Debate, Karen Budd-Falen editor, Lewis and Clark Law School Environmental Law, 2006.
Karen was featured in Newsweek Magazine’s “Who’s Who: 20 for the Future” for her work on property rights issues (September 30, 1991). Karen was awarded Wyoming’s Outstanding Ag Citizen in 2001; the “Always There Helping” award from the New Mexico Stock Growers Association in 2003; the “Bud’s Contract” award from the New Mexico Public Lands Council in 2006 and the Individual of the Year award from the Arizona/New Mexico Counties for Stable Economic Growth in 2011.
Karen has presented testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Forest Health; the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Resources; the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Resources relating to the National Environmental Policy Act; the U.S. House of Representatives Full Committee on Natural Resources; and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Karen has also testified before committees of the Wyoming Legislature.
Karen is an active volunteer and coach for Future Farmers of America (“FFA”). Karen grew up as a fifth generation rancher on a family-owned ranch in Big Piney, Wyoming. She received her undergraduate degrees and her law degree from the University of Wyoming. Karen and Frank have two children, Isaac (wife Reva Falen) and Sarah (husband Hunter Perala) and grandson, Wesley.