We presume that with long summer days just around the corner, Interior Secretary Bernhardt might be getting out of the swamp and heading West to enjoy what little protected public land remain intact.
Bernhardt is probably excited to wade in California waters he wished could be diverted to his former client, the Westlands Water District, or explore the Grand Canyon he’d like to mine for uranium. We know he’s been busy gutting the Endangered Species Act, trying to reorganize the Department of the Interior with no plan or purpose, as well as handing out leases to oil and gas in migratory corridors for a price that’s less than a cup of coffee. But Bernhardt hasn’t been too busy to follow Trump’s chaotic marching orders, turning the Fourth of July into a political fiasco. After the extravagant firework show, maybe Bernhardt will have a chance to get outside.
The fact is, Bernhardt rarely ventures outside of his toxic swamp habitat of lobbyists and corrupt lawmakers. It’s probably been a while since he laced up the old hiking boots or dusted off any gear so just in case he forgets his shopping list, we’ve outlined his perfect day pack below.
Bernhardt’s Fourth of July Backpack:
Bernhardt has long been an ally of the coal industry. Any trip to our public lands wouldn’t be complete for Bernhardt without some coal-digging himself. Recently, his commitment to coal reached a whole new level. Trump and Bernhardt decided to reopen U.S. public lands to new coal leasing despite Interior’s own study showing that federal coal production caused roughly 13 percent of all U.S. carbon dioxide pollution in 2014.
– Waterproof Boots
Bernhardt has a complicated relationship with water. In a potential violation of his ethics pledge that is under investigation, he continues to work to divert water resources to former clients. We can’t imagine that would be easy without some heavy-duty waterproof boots.
– Rain Slicker
As a long-time former oil and gas lobbyist who still advocates for oil and gas interests – even through government shutdowns, when his own staff suffered – Bernhardt likely already has a suitable jacket to trudge through all the oil spills.
– Multi-use tool
Opening up our public lands to special interests isn’t an easy task, mostly because it’s just a really bad idea. But Bernhardt, as we’ve seen, is motivated in taking public lands out of public hands and handing them over to oil executives and land developers. A multi-use tool isn’t all Bernhardt will need to open our public lands to more exploitation but it sure couldn’t hurt.
Plotting his next public lands oil and gas lease sale in bird migratory corridors will take a serious birdseye view.
– An extra small backpacking stove
Bernhardt spent a good deal of political reputability making sure California water doesn’t make it to the ocean and instead stays in irrigation channels. By doing so, he sacrificed protecting the endangered delta smelt, a tiny fish that is a critical part of a delicate ecosystem. At this point, he might as well cook those tiny delta smelts for dinner.
– Water purifier
If Bernhardt has any hope of surviving the backcountry in the polluted state he’s left our public lands in, he will definitely need a very good water purifier.
-Sunglasses and headphones
Avoiding accountability? Canceling meetings? Refusing to provide public records unless they’ve been reviewed by political appointees? A vacation in the backcountry for Bernhardt just means another opportunity to block out Congressional requests and the public while ignoring his duties as secretary.