With the departure of Ryan Zinke, President Donald Trump has nominated David Bernhardt, the Interior Department's deputy secretary, to take over the department entirely. As a career lobbyist for major corporations — the same businesses that often do business with and apply for permits from the Interior — Bernhardt is immediately inviting countless conflicts of interest.
In his time in the government, he's gone the extra mile to help oil giants drill freely, even if it means giving away public lands or calling back furloughed workers during the shutdown to keep the permit process moving. Bernhardt has also been instrumental in chipping away at endangered species protections so that corporations don't have to be mindful of vulnerable critters.
Bernhardt faced appropriate scrutiny in the confirmation process for deputy secretary, and he deserves an even more thorough examination before heading the whole department. We call on the Dems to do everything they can to block this confirmation and get a non-lobbyist in this role.