Trump has nominated David Bernhardt to run the Department of Interior, making him the latest in a line of corrupt former lobbyists nominated to regulate the industries they used to work for.
This is almost be a cliche at this point: Bernhardt follows Ryan Zinke, who resigned under a cloud of investigations and allegations of corruption. Lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, who thousands of us called, emailed, texted and got arrested protesting was confirmed last month to replace Scott Pruitt – who was forced out over similar corruption charges.
But Bernhardt is especially bad – and there’s still time to stop him. At his committee hearing last week, he was questioned strongly by Republicans and Democrats. And his during his previous vote to be Zinke’s deputy, only 53 Senators supported him.
If we can convince just a few more Senators to oppose Bernhardt, we could stop him and take down some of Trump’s most corrupt, dirty, and totalitarian plans for US “Energy Dominance.”
Like I said, in an administration notorious for corruption and conflicts of interest, Bernhardt is especially bad:
- Bernhardt intervened to block a scientific report on an endangered species of fish to benefit a former lobbying client who’d paid him $1.3 million.
- He’s done less than nothing to deal with the culture of toxic masculinity at the Interior Department, where thousands of female employees have reported harassment and intimidation.
- This isn’t just a case of inheriting a problem from his corrupt predecessor, Christine Lehnertz, the first female superintendent of the Grand Canyon, resigned LAST MONTH after receiving “malicious and defamatory” treatment. It’s doubly tragic because Lehnertz was hired to investigate reports of sexual harassment.
- Bernhardt is also the chief author of Trump’s radical offshore drilling plan, which would open almost every inch of the US coast to drilling, spilling and exploitation. He’s so integral, the plan is expected to be finalized and made public as soon as the Senate confirms him.
- During the longest government shutdown in history, earlier this year, while thousands of federal employees were furloughed and national parks filled up with trash, Bernhardt ordered workers to show up and approve 15 new drilling leases on public lands and 71 offshore drilling permits — including 50 for companies that used to pay him as a lobbyist.
- And that’s not even all – The New York Times, DesmogBlog and other media have practically run out of ink printing stories about Bernhardts corruption and conflicts of interest.
We’ve taken down Trump’s corrupt agents before – firing Pruitt, Zinke, and driving others out of office. We’ve also built a powerful bulwark against his nominees by getting every single Democrat to vote in opposition to Trump’s nominees to FERC and other agencies.
But we’ve never succeeded in taking down a nominee at this point in the process. If we stop Bernhardt, we wont just stop a corrupt, misogynist, oil-baron from taking over the Interior Department (though that would be a good thing) we’ll deal a major blow to Trump and Co.’s plans to drill, frack, and mine every inch of our public lands and waters – no matter what the damage to our climate, communities, or people.
That’s why it’s critical that you tell your Senators you won’t stand for another fossil fuel industry hack who puts the profits of his former clients above the health and safety of the American people.