As I wrote here last week, it was imperative for the U.S. Senate to confirm Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt as Interior Secretary.
At 1:45pm ET today, the U.S. Senate began voting on Berhardt’s nomination to lead the department. He was soon confirmed by a 56-41 vote in the chamber. This included “Yea” votes from Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Senator Angus King (I-ME). The lone Republican who marked himself “Not Voting” was Senator David Perdue (R-GA.)
This makes Bernhardt the 53rd Interior Secretary to serve the post.
This wasn’t Bernhardt’s first rodeo with Interior. He served as former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s deputy secretary and previously served as DOI’s solicitor from 2006 to 2009 under the Bush Administration.
Here’s House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Republican Rob Bishop (R-UT)’s statement on his confirmation:
“After decades of mismanagement and regulatory abuse, the Department of the Interior and the communities impacted by its decisions will greatly benefit with David Bernhardt at the top. He is uniquely qualified to lead the Department and continue important regulatory reforms to improve land management, limit prior executive abuse, expand conservation, and advance greater public access to our public lands. I congratulate David on today’s confirmation.”
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation similarly issued the following statement in response to his confirmation to the post, citing Bernhardt’s recent secretarial order prioritizing access for hunting, fishing, and other recreation when considering actions related to public lands:
“Secretary Bernhardt is an avid outdoorsman and elk hunter who values and appreciates conservation in line with our mission to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We have collaborated together on several key conservation issues for the benefit of wildlife and public access.”
Bernhardt will continue to promote a true conservation agenda at the department. Sportsmen and women, ranchers, landowners, public land enthusiasts, and other natural resources stakeholders should applaud his confirmation.