Trump’s Deplorable Choice for Interior Secretary
Trump nominated David Bernhardt for the post, currently serving as Deputy Secretary of the Interior, earlier as solicitor for the department.
If confirmed, he’ll succeed scandal-plagued Ryan Zinke. He’s a longtime lobbyist for oil, gas, and other corporate polluters.
He, Zinke and Trump believe US energy giants should operate virtually unrestrained on public lands. In 2017, oil and gas leases on them increased by 90% year-over-year, increasing further last year.
In response to Trump’s nomination, Friends of the Earth Senior Fossil Fuels Program manager Nicole Ghio said the following:
“Trump has once again nominated a corrupt industry hack to lead a critical federal agency. Instead of another puppet for corporate polluters, Americans want real leaders who will protect our public lands, natural resources and cultural heritage.”
“Rather than give Bernhardt a promotion, Congress should be working on exposing his numerous conflicts of interest and ethics violations, as a fossil fuel lobbyist and now as a government official.”
“The Senate must reject Bernhardt because he will undoubtedly put his fossil fuel industry friends before the American people and our environment.”
Other critics slammed him as follows:
The Western Values Project environmental group head Chris Saeger said he’s “an ex-lobbyist and the ultimate DC-swamp creature with so many potential conflicts of interest that he has to carry around a list of his former clients.”
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Ana Unruh Cohen, “Bernhardt might as well be an ideological clone of Ryan Zinke, another industry shill who will continue to sell our precious natural resources to the highest bidders for exploitation.”
NRDC’s Doug Obegi said “Bernhardt has been personally and intimately involved in rolling back protections for endangered species in the Delta for quite some time.”
Restore the Delta activist Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla called him a key figure involved in promoting the false narrative of “fish v. farmers” when it comes to allocating area water resources.
In 2017, Public Citizen said it identified 133 executive branch officials with a history of lobbying for industry groups, at least 60 active for the past two years in Washington, recent appointees with conflicts of interest.
Tweeting on Bernhardt’s nomination, Public Citizen said he “fits the trend…Unethical Zinke Out. Oil Lobbyist In. At EPA: Unethical Pruitt Out. Coal Lobbyist In.”
“At HHS: Unethical Price Out. Pharma Exec In. In the Trump swamp, things are so bad they turn to lobbyists to cure ethical lapses.”
Greenpeace USA Climate Campaigner Vicky Wyatt slammed Bernhardt’s nomination, saying “his commitment to pandering to oil, coal, and gas executives make former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke look like a tree-hugging environmentalist in comparison.”
“We already let Bernhardt do enough damage to our federal lands and waters as deputy secretary. We have to stop him before he destroys some of this country’s best ideas including the Endangered Species Act.”
Greenpeace USA and the Center for Biological Diversity asked the Interior Department’s inspector general to investigate Bernhardt’s possible ethical violations.
He’s closely tied to acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler – both figures enemies of ecosanity.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”