Meet your new Interior Secretary, David Bernhardt: a former lobbyist for Big Ag and Big Coal who’s all too happy to follow through with the Trump administration’s pro-polluter agenda. Following heated debate over Bernhardt’s ethically questionable industry ties, the Senate ultimately confirmed him with a vote of 57 to 41. Bernhardt has served as the agency’s acting director since the resignation of his scandal-plagued predecessor, Ryan Zinke, at the start of the year. During that time, he’s attempted to undo a landmark sage grouse conservation plan in the West, blocked the publication of scientific research on harmful pesticides, and released a half-baked environmental review backing the environmentally disastrous proposal to build Pebble Mine at the headwaters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay. We’re now bracing for more of the same. Coming down the pipeline (literally, sigh), we expect more attacks on endangered species and public lands—along with more proposals to expand fossil fuel development.
Skip carousel items
ExplainerUnited States, Washington, D.C.Jeff Turrentine
The man who’s likely to replace Ryan Zinke as Interior secretary is a seasoned Washington insider—and (surprise!) a former lobbyist for Big Oil and Big Ag.
Like former Secretary Ryan Zinke, David Bernhardt has a track record of putting industry profits first.
Expert BlogNora Apter
While leaders in Congress warned about the dire state of wildlife in the United States and globally, Acting Interior Secretary and Trump nominee David Bernhardt touted devastating budget cuts to the agencies responsible for wildlife conservation.
Expert BlogRhea Suh
The new deputy secretary of the Interior Department has spent most of his life attacking land, water, and wildlife on behalf of dirty energy companies.