Wednesday, 24 April, 2019

President Trump Announces a New Interior Secretary

Trump picks David Bernhardt former oil lobbyist to take over Interior Department Trump To Nominate David Bernhardt As Permanent Interior Secretary
Cary Marshall | 05 February, 2019, 20:56

President Donald Trump said on Monday he would nominate David Bernhardt, a former energy lobbyist, to be secretary of the interior, the department that oversees USA public lands.

Bernhardt, now the acting secretary at the Interior Department, is widely expected to continue pushing the Trump administration's plan to boost domestic fossil fuels production by opening more US public lands to drilling and mining.

Bernhardt, from Colorado, first served in Interior as a political appointee under President George W. Bush, becoming the agency's top lawyer.

Zinke resigned as secretary in December as he faced pressure stemming from several investigations regarding real estate dealings and conduct. In his resignation letter, obtained by The Associated Press, Zinke said "vicious and politically motivated attacks" against him had "created an unfortunate distraction" in fulfilling the agency's mission.

In addition to being acting interior secretary, Bernhardt was also deputy chief interior secretary under Zinke, a role for which he received Senate confirmation in 2017. Environmental groups have accused him of making regulatory decisions on the country's natural resources to benefit industries, and he has led plans to weaken endangered species protections.

Bernhardt thanked the President in response to the tweet, calling the nomination "a humbling privilege".

More news: U.S. forces staying in Iraq to watch Iran

The president now has an acting defense secretary, acting attorney general, acting chief of staff, acting ambassador to the United Nations and acting Environmental Protection Agency administrator.

"David Bernhardt spent much of his career lobbying for fossil fuel and agricultural interests, and the president putting him in charge of regulating his former clients is a ideal example of everything wrong with this administration", Mr. Grijalva said in a statement.

Environmentalists were quick to criticize Trump's decision.

The Senate confirmed Bernhardt as deputy secretary by a vote of 53 in favor and 43 against.

Under leadership of Zinke and Bernhardt, the interior department has pushed to open more Alaskan wilderness and offshore waters to oil and gas development.

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