David Bernhardt, acting Interior secretary, is Trump's pick to lead department

David Bernhardt, acting Interior secretary, is Trump's pick to lead department

President Donald Trump on Monday announced he will nominate David Bernhardt as secretary of the Department of the Interior.

But while Bernhardt was named acting interior secretary, a permanent replacement was not named until now.

"David Bernhardt. brings tremendous leadership with him from our home state of Colorado and I look forward to a swift confirmation process", Rep. Ken Buck tweeted.

Mr. Bernhardt, a former energy lobbyist whose clients included oil companies, had been serving in an interim role since Mr. Zinke departed under an ethics cloud at the end of previous year.

"Trump has once again nominated a corrupt industry hack to lead a critical federal agency", Nicole Ghio, senior fossil fuels program manager for Friends of the Earth, said in a statement.

The president now has an acting defense secretary, acting attorney general, acting chief of staff, acting ambassador to the United Nations and acting Environmental Protection Agency administrator.

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"Bernhardt got this nomination as a reward for months of work cramming America's natural heritage into a wood chipper", said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity advocacy group, one of many environmental organizations condemning Trump's intended nomination.

Republicans say Bernhardt's revolving-door experience makes him an informed regulator in matters before the agency. "We intend to conduct vigorous oversight of Mr. Bernhardt's industry ties and how they may influence his policy decisions", Grijalva said in a statement.

Bernhardt also worked on a series of jobs at the Interior Department under former President George W Bush from 2001 to early 2009, including as the department's solicitor.

Bernhardt was a lobbyist at the firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, where his clients included Eni Petroleum, Sempra Energy and the Westlands Water District.

During Zinke and Bernhardt's tenure, the Interior Department has pushed to open more Alaskan wilderness and offshore waters to oil and gas development, the Associated Press reported.

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