Swamp creature crashes Interior pick's hearing

A protester dressed as a “swamp creature” was escorted out of a confirmation hearing for Interior Secretary nominee David Bernhardt Thursday morning. 

The protester remained seated for two hours before being escorted out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

 

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Bernhardt, a former oil and gas industry lobbyist, reportedly helped block the release of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study outlining the effects of pesticides on endangered species while working as a deputy Interior secretary under Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: House Science Committee hits EPA with subpoenas | California sues EPA over Trump revoking emissions waiver | Interior disbands board that floated privatization at national parks Interior disbands advisory board that floated privatization at national parks Overnight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics MORE, according to The New York Times.

An Interior Department spokesman told the Times that Bernhardt's actions had been “governed solely by legitimate concerns regarding the legal sufficiency and policy.”

The Western Values Project, a conservationist group, called Bernhardt the “ultimate D.C. swamp creature with so many potential conflicts of interest that he has to carry around a list of his former clients” in a statement in February.

Activist Ian Madrigal has staged similar protests, sitting behind then-Equifax CEO Richard Smith and Google CEO Sundar Pichai dressed as the Monopoly mascot during congressional hearings.