Zinke’s out, but a Zinke clone, David Bernhardt, may soon be in

Following the scandal-ridden resignation of U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke back in December, President Trump has now formally nominated a pro-polluter replacement: David Bernhardt. In his nearly 18 months as the department's deputy secretary, Bernhardt already got plenty of experience pushing through the Trump's rollback agenda. In fact, he was often the muscle behind Zinke’s most contentious proposals. Bernhardt oversaw, for instance, the plan to strip protections from roughly nine million acres of sage grouse habitat in the West. He also pushed for oil and gas drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and for weaker protections for endangered species. Before that (and to nobody's surprise), Bernhardt worked for Big Oil and Big Ag—both of which sing his praises (of course). If approved by the Senate, this former lobbyist will soon oversee everything from federal land management to wildlife protections to the approval of offshore drilling rigs. The swamp that he represents, however, remains safe.



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