President Trump announced Monday that he will nominate David Bernhardt, a veteran lobbyist who has helped orchestrate the administration’s push to expand oil and gas drilling as the Interior Department’s number-two official, to serve as the next secretary.
If confirmed, Bernhardt, a 49-year old Colorado native known for his unrelenting work habits, would be well positioned to roll back even more of the Obama-era conservation policies he has worked to unravel since joining Interior a year and-a-half ago. He has helmed the department as acting secretary since Jan. 2, when Ryan Zinke resigned amid multiple ethics probes.
Bernhardt’s industry-friendly policies, coupled with his extensive work as a lobbyist, have earned him the enmity of environmental groups and many Democrats.
“The ethical questions surrounding David Bernhardt and his commitment to pandering to oil, coal, and gas executives make former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke look like a tree-hugging environmentalist in comparison,” said Vicky Wyatt of Greenpeace USA. “And Ryan Zinke was a disaster.” [Continue reading…]