(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) and more than 50 House colleagues in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Democratic Leader Schumer urging them to reject the nomination of David Bernhardt to serve as the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.
Mr. Bernhardt has spent a significant portion of his career representing some of the nation’s most powerful extractive energy companies. In his role as corporate lobbyist, Mr. Bernhardt pushed Congress to advance potentially dangerous oil and gas development and weaken – or outright eliminate – critical environment protections. Since rejoining the Department of the Interior in 2017, Mr. Bernhardt has been instrumental in advancing President Trump’s pro-polluter agenda, serving as the chief architect of the administration’s efforts to expand onshore and offshore oil and gas drilling.
“Mr. Bernhardt has spent his career advancing the interests of the dirty fossil fuel industry,” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin.“He has consistently advocated for policies which would harm our environment and the well-being of all Americans– from stripping away critical environmental safeguards, to advancing potentially devastating onshore and offshore energy projects. As our climate crisis only grows in urgency and magnitude, it is more important than ever that we have a secretary who will defend and protect our natural resources and wildlife, not someone who will advance policies that destroy our environment.”
“The Department of the Interior is tasked with the protection and management of our public lands, waters, wildlife, and other resources,” wrote the lawmakers. “It is critical that the Secretary of the Interior execute those duties faithfully and demonstrate a commitment to preserving our nation’s natural resources for the enjoyment and use of all Americans. Unfortunately, Mr. Bernhardt has a lengthy record of advancing corporate interests at the expense of the environment. That record raises serious concerns about his ability to effectively and impartially lead the Department.”
“We applaud House members for supporting their Senate colleagues fight to oppose one of the most conflicted nominees from this administration, especially one tasked with protecting our public lands and natural resources,” said Drew McConville, senior managing director at The Wilderness Society. “Acting Secretary Bernhardt has been the architect behind one of the largest assaults on conservation in US history, opening up millions of acres of our land and waters to reckless oil and gas development, checking off the industry’s to-do list while leaving the public completely in the dark.”
Mr. Bernhardt’s confirmation vote on the Senate floor is expected this week.
Full letter text is available here.