Bernhardt can’t seem to resist handing out perks to his former Big Ag clients


U.S. Interior Secretary and industry-shill extraordinaire David Bernhardt has seemingly once again used his public position to benefit his former employers. Just weeks ago, Bernhardt’s agency took steps to weaken Endangered Species Act protections for the imperiled delta smelt, after having pushed to raise a massive California dam at the expensive of sensitive ecosystems downstream, such as habitat for endangered Chinook salmon. Both moves intended to hand over more of the state’s in-demand water supply to a politically powerful group of agribusinesses from California’s Westlands Water District that—wait for it—used to employ Bernhardt as a lobbyist and lawyer. Now, the agency is proposing awarding one of its first contracts for permanent access to a massive amount of water under a 2016 law that Bernhardt lobbied Congress to enact. And you guessed it, the recipients would be the Westlands Water District. Small world, huh? Bernhardt worked directly as a lobbyist for Westlands up until 2017, when he joined the Interior Department to supposedly serve the public and protect our natural resources. How’s that going, Dave?

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