Deputy secretary, David Bernhardt, will take over Trump's Interior Department when Ryan Zinke steps down. Photo: David Zalubowski / AP

By Emily Holden
16 December 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. (The Guardian) – Ryan Zinke’s exit as interior secretary elevates a former lobbyist to the job, meaning the top two US environmental agencies will now be run by people previously paid by industry.

The deputy secretary, David Bernhardt, will take over at least temporarily when Zinke steps down at the end of the year. He also could be in the running to head the department permanently. And at the Environmental Protection Agency, the acting administrator, Andrew Wheeler, who was a coal lobbyist, will be nominated to keep the post.

Bernhardt was a fossil fuels and water industry lobbyist at the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck before he joined the Trump administration. He was previously the chief lawyer at the interior department under the George W Bush administration.

In an ethics pledge, Bernhardt said he would wait until August 2019 to have certain interactions with his former firm and some major oil and gas companies he represented. But many of the industry-friendly changes he has ushered in as the No 2 official were on the wishlists of the companies who employed him.

“It’s not so much who has he helped. It’s who hasn’t he helped in industry so far,” said Bobby McEnaney, who works on western US energy issues for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“The notion that he could extricate himself from benefiting his former clients is impossible.” […]

Bernhardt has led efforts to weaken endangered species protections, writing an op-ed in the Washington Post claiming that the way the law is implemented makes for an “unnecessary regulatory burden”.

Bernhardt also represented Taylor Energy, the oil company that has been leaking hundreds of barrels per oil per day into the Gulf of Mexico for 14 years, nearly overtaking the BP Deepwater Horizon spill. [more]

Former fossil fuels lobbyist to head interior department as Zinke exits


  1. Anonymous said...

    Nefarious dark forces have always sought to turn humans into insect like creatures.

    "The bee was among the Egyptians the symbol of an obedient people, because, says Horapollo, 'of all insects, the bee alone had a king."

    "Looking at the regulated labor of these insects when congregated in their hive, it is not surprising that a beehive should have been deemed an appropriate emblem of systematized industry. "

    "Go to the bee, and learn how diligent she is, and what a noble work she produces; whose labour kings and private men use for their health"

    Sources: Origin of Pagan Idolatry, Animal Symbolism in Ecclesiastical Architecture  


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