David Bernhardt has been confirmed as the 53 rd secretary of the Interior Department.
The Senate elected 56 -4 1, mainly along party lines, to substantiate the Colorado native and former oil and gas publicist, who has served as the Interior Department’s serve foreman since Secretary Ryan Zinke stepped down in January amid preparing ethics scandals.
As deputy secretary, Bernhardt dallied a key, behind-the-scenes character in gutting environmental regulations and advancing the Trump government’s fossil fuel-centric “energy dominance” agenda. He brings to the top pole a slew of potential conflicts of interests to be derived from his years as an vigour lobbyist, suffer that has earned him names like the “ultimate D.C. marsh creature.” He’s come under increased inquiry in recent weeks after two New York Times commodities registered he intervened to block a scientific report on security threats specific pesticides constitute to endangered species and continued to lobby for a onetime client months after indicating papers promising to cease such activity.
Prior to Bernhardt’s confirmation, several Senate Democrats wrote a letter announcing for the Interior Department’s internal watchdog to investigate allegations that he stifled science by the Fish and Wildlife Service. And Sen. Ron Wyden( D-Ore .), a vocal pundit, requested Monday that the U.S. advocate for the District of Columbia “thoroughly probe potential civil and criminal violations” of lobbying powers by Bernhardt and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, the laws and regulations firm where for eight years he lobbied on behalf of lubricant, gas, mining and agricultural interests.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer( D-N.Y .) took to the Senate floorWednesday to counsel colleagues to vote against Bernhardt, describing it as a “hardened antagonist of climate science” who has “made a career of harming the environment, subverting environmental matters and helping polluters sidestep federal regulation.”
“President Trump, for all his talk of draining the flood, wants to add yet another Washington drenches beast publicist to his Cabinet, ” Schumer said.
Despite Democrats having batch of new food, Bernhardt sailed through his confirmation discovering earlier this month, where objectors were spotted donning colors light-green marsh mortal masks. He won the support of two key Democrats on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee: Manchin, the committee’s ranking member, and Heinrich, who in 2017 voted against this report substantiating Bernhardt as deputy secretary.
Manchin said in a speech on the Senate floor ahead of Thursday’s vote that Bernhardt is “clearly qualified” for the persona , indicating its own experience serving as a top Interior official under onetime President George W. Bush. He added that during recent assembles he told Bernhardt he plans to hold him and the department to the “highest ethical standards.”