Bernhardt’s Confirmation Underscores Threats to Science at Interior, Need for Oversight

Statement by Adam Markham, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Apr 11, 2019

WASHINGTON (April 11, 2019)—The U.S. Senate today approved the nomination of David Bernhardt  to become Secretary of the Interior. Bernhardt, a deputy secretary under former Secretary Ryan Zinke, has been serving as Acting Secretary since Zinke’s departure—and he’s likely to continue Secretary Zinke’s pattern of sidelining science and undermining public health and environmental protections, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Adam Markham, Deputy Director of the Climate and Energy Program at UCS.

“The Department of the Interior has a mission to protect public lands, ecosystems, and our cultural heritage, based on the best science and the public interest. In the Trump era, this mission and the science that supports it have been cast aside in favor of making it easier for powerful industries to exploit public lands and resources. As former Secretary Zinke’s top deputy, David Bernhardt signed off on many of the worst attacks on science at Interior at the expense of public health and the environment, and to the benefit of the industries he worked for as a lobbyist. Now, Bernhardt will take on the top job at Interior. Congress must keep a close eye on Bernhardt to prevent him from further undermining science, irreplaceable public lands, and the mission of the agency—and hold him accountable when he does so.”