Senate committee taps oil and gas lobbyist for number two spot at Interior

On a mostly party-line vote of 14-9, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee advanced the nomination of oil and gas lobbyist David Bernhardt to be the Deputy Secretary of the Interior. This comes following reports that Bernhardt is refusing to comply with ethics disclosures, despite having one of the longest lists of conflicts of interest of anyone serving in the Interior Department.

“Every senator who voted for Mr. Bernhardt is handing over management of our nation’s land and outdoor economy to a Washington lobbyist with a laundry list of conflicts of interest and a history of lining his pockets with special interest cash,” said Chris Saeger, Western Values Project Director. “Anyone who believes Mr. Bernhardt will follow Teddy Roosevelt’s tradition of conservation should have their head examined. Mr. Bernhardt is in too deep with oil, gas, and mining companies to be trusted to manage our national heritage to benefit all Americans.”

Last week, Politico reported that Mr. Bernhardt is refusing to make basic ethics disclosures, stating that, “he would not say who those clients are or what business they may have before Interior.” He also wrote to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that he would not provide a list of matters, “directly and substantially related to [his] former employer or former clients,” which he should be recused from if confirmed. 

Bernhardt’s top conflicts of interests:

Bernhardt’s list of clients with interests in DOI decisions:

Independent Petroleum Association, Halliburton Energy Services, Archer Daniels Midland Company, UR Energy USA, Inc., Strata Production Company, Rosemont Copper Company, Samson Resources Company, Westlands Water District, Cobalt International Energy, FreepoRt LNG Expansion, Diamond Ventures Inc., Costal Point Energy, Garrison Diversion Irrigation District, Access Industries, Targa Resources, Active Network LLC, and Cadiz, Inc.

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