House Dems urge Senate to reject Bernhardt nomination to Interior

More than 50 Democratic House members have signed a letter asking their colleagues in the upper chamber to oppose David Bernhardt’s nomination as secretary of the Interior Department.

“As our climate crisis only grows in urgency and magnitude, it is more important than ever that we have a secretary who will defend and protect our natural resources and wildlife, not someone who will advance policies that destroy our environment,” Rep. A. Donald McEachinAston (Donale) Donald McEachinVirginia governor seeking to remove Robert E. Lee statue from US Capitol Five environmental fights to watch in 2020 Virginia lawmakers ask governor to remove state's Robert E. Lee statue from US Capitol MORE (D-Va.) wrote in the letter. “Unfortunately, Mr. Bernhardt has a lengthy record of advancing corporate interests at the expense of the environment.”

Bernhardt is likely to be confirmed Thursday, despite long-running questions about his tenure as a lobbyist and continued ties to the industry he once represented.

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In his letter, McEachin denounced Bernhardt's nomination, calling him “an influential corporate lobbyist with extensive ties to fossil fuel interests” who has been instrumental in advancing President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE’s pro-polluter agenda.”

Bernhardt has come under fire for potential conflicts of interest, including reportedly continuing to lobby for a former client after saying he’d stopped. Democrats have since asked that client, Westlands Water District, to turn over documents tied to Bernhardt.

The letter lists a number of actions Bernhardt has taken during his tenure as deputy secretary of the department, saying they have advanced the interests of polluting industries and thus should disqualify him from serving as secretary.

Wednesday's letter comes a day after 14 Senate Democrats sent a letter to Bernhardt asking him to reverse actions that limit public comment periods when the department considers new oil and gas leases.