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 McEachinOvernight Energy: Trump moves forward with rule on California drilling | House panel advances bill that resumes participation in Paris climate fund | Perry pressed on 'environmental justice' | 2020 Dem proposes climate corps Perry, asked about environmental justice, talks about electricity prices David Bernhardt confirmed as new Interior chief 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 TrumpWhat the Mueller report tells us about Putin, Russia and Trump's election Fox's Brit Hume fires back at Trump's criticism of the channel Anti-US trade war song going viral in China 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.