Trump To Nominate David Bernhardt As Permanent Interior Secretary

  • Trump To Nominate David Bernhardt As Permanent Interior Secretary

Trump To Nominate David Bernhardt As Permanent Interior Secretary

President Donald Trump said on Monday he would nominate David Bernhardt, a former energy lobbyist, to be secretary of the interior, the department that oversees us public lands.

Bernhardt took over as acting secretary following Ryan Zinke's decision to step down as head of the department last month after less than two years in office.

"David has done a fantastic job from the day he arrived, and we look forward to having his nomination officially confirmed!" the president tweeted Monday.

Bernhardt has remained low-profile as Trump weighed him and a half-dozen other reported contenders, chiefly western lawmakers, as successors to Zinke.

Oil lobbyist David Bernhardt fits the trend. Between 2001 and 2009, he served in various capacities in the Department of the Interior.

"David Bernhardt spent much of his career lobbying for fossil fuel and agricultural interests, and the president putting him in charge of regulating his former clients is a flawless example of everything wrong with this administration", Mr. Grijalva said in a statement. Zinke left the Trump administration in January amid mounting federal investigations into his travel, political activity and potential conflicts of interest. Rather than asking the Senate confirm controversial Acting Attorney General Matthew Whittaker for the job, Trump nominated William Barr, who won high marks as George H.W. Bush's attorney general from 1990-93.

Bernhardt's nomination will have to be approved by the Senate.

After working under Bush, Bernhardt became a lawyer and lobbyist at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck for water and oil interests.

Republicans say Mr. Bernhardt's revolving-door experience makes him an informed regulator in matters before the agency.

Critics say Bernhardt's previous work as a lobbyist could risk conflicts of interest, unless he recuses himself from certain issues, because he worked for companies that could benefit by opening up lands to development.

Bernhardt would also oversee the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's (ANWR) coastal plain to oil and gas exploration.