President Donald Trump intends to nominate David Bernhardt of Virginia to be Secretary of Interior, according to a statement from the White House Friday afternoon.
Bernhardt currently serves as Acting Secretary and Deputy Secretary of the Interior a position he took on after the departure of Secretary Ryan Zinke. During his tenure in office, Zinke generated headlines about ethics investigations and criticism of his actions favoring industry.
Bernhardt is originally from Rifle, Colorado and began his early career in the office of GOP Rep. Scott McInnis from Colorado.
Bernhardt, a former partner and shareholder at Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber Schreck, has worked for nearly a decade at the Interior Department. He has served various roles at the agency including the department’s solicitor from 2006 to 2009. He has also served as United States Commissioner for the International Boundary Commission between the United States and Canada.
Bernhardt is no stranger to the confirmation process. He had to appear before the Senate for his position as solicitor in 2006 and President Trump nominated Bernhardt to be deputy secretary of the Interior in April of 2017.
In May, he appeared before the United States Senate Committee on Energy Resources committee
At the time, Bernhadt, who was known as a prominent lobbyist and lawyer in Washington circles, was criticized by opponents who suggested he had conflict-of-interests.
In the past, his firm has worked on regulation issues with the Department of Interior. He has also represented oil companies and agricultural interests.
He was later confirmed by the Senate with a vote of 53-34.