“He has more experience in that building working on these issues than any predecessor,” Jon Hrobsky, an attorney who worked with Bernhardt in President George W. Bush’s Interior Department, told the Washington Examiner. “The uniqueness of David for this job is there has never been anyone more qualified to do it.”

Josh Siegel

Washington Examiner

Colorado native is favorite to replace Zinke as Interior Secretary

President Donald Trump’s search to replace departing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke did not conclude last week as it was expected to and could stretch into the new year.

A few new contenders have emerged as some of the earlier prospects have faded, according to sources close to the Trump administration.

Colorado native David Bernhardt, the Interior Department deputy set to become acting secretary next month, is still viewed as Trump’s safest bet to run the agency on a permanent basis, according to allies of his and sources close to the White House.

Bernhardt, 49, is a former high school dropout from rural Colorado who earned his law degree from George Washington University before working at Interior from 2001 to 2009, and eventually rising to the No. 3 position at the department as its solicitor general. He would have to be confirmed again if nominated as Interior secretary.

But Bernhardt has competition for the job, and Trump won’t make a decision this week, as the president is preoccupied with the government shutdown fight, the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and the fallout from his decision to remove U.S. troops from Syria.

Bernhardt, who is expected to be named acting Interior secretary as soon as Zinke leaves on Jan. 2, could be the easiest transition for the Trump administration, according to his allies.

“He has more experience in that building working on these issues than any predecessor,” Jon Hrobsky, an attorney who worked with Bernhardt in President George W. Bush’s Interior Department, told the Washington Examiner. “The uniqueness of David for this job is there has never been anyone more qualified to do it.”

But he would have to overcome criticism of his past ties to energy lobbyists.

Bernhardt worked with Hrobsky at the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, where the former represented oil and gas companies and water districts. His past business history has provided ammunition to critics who say he is too conflicted to lead the Interior Department, which oversees the country’s 500 million acres of public land, including 59 national parks.

His former client list ranges from offshore oil and gas drillers like Eni Petroleum, onshore drillers like Noble Energy and Halliburton, and industry trade associations, including the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the National Ocean Industries Association.

Continue reading here


Free Range Report

Thank you for reading our latest report, but before you go…

Our loyalty is to the truth and to YOU, our readers!
We respect your reading experience, and have refrained from putting up a paywall and obnoxious advertisements, which means that we get by on small donations from people like you. We’re not asking for much, but any amount that you can give goes a long way to securing a better future for the people who make America great.

For as little as $1 you can support Free Range Report, and it takes only a moment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.