RESPONSE to David Bernhardt’s nomination as Interior Secretary

Feb 4, 2019

Aaron Weiss, Deputy Director
Center for Western Priorities 

FEBRUARY 4, 2019

DENVER—In response to President Trump’s announcement that he will nominate David Bernhardt as Secretary of the Interior, the Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Executive Director Jennifer Rokala:

“David Bernhardt’s nomination is an affront to America’s parks and public lands. As an oil and gas lobbyist, Bernhardt pushed to open vast swaths of public lands for drilling and mining. As deputy secretary, he was behind some of the worst policy decisions of Secretary Zinke’s sad tenure, including stripping protections for imperiled wildlife. Bernhardt even used the government shutdown to approve drilling permits for companies linked to his former clients.

“As senators consider Bernhardt’s nomination, it’s crucial they remember that the ongoing investigations into Ryan Zinke’s conduct intersect with policies that David Bernhardt has helped enact. Otherwise, we’ll see another Interior secretary fall into the same ethical abyss that ended Ryan Zinke’s political career. If a walking conflict of interest like David Bernhardt gets confirmed, oversight and true transparency will be more important than ever.”


  • Interior approved drilling permits for Bernhardt-linked companies during shutdown [Westwise]
  • David Bernhardt: Trump’s Walking Conflict of Interest [Westwise]
  • Full list of 19 of Bernhardt’s conflicts and related DOI policy actions [Center for Western Priorities]
  • Bernhardt carries with him a card listing all his conflicts of interest [Washington Post]