Newsroom

A Voice for Our Ocean

Statement: Congress Must Address Secretary of Interior Nominee’s Conflicts of Interest

Washington, D.C. – The following statement was issued by Ocean Conservancy’s CEO Janis Searles Jones on the nomination of David Bernhardt to serve as the Secretary of the Interior (@InVeritas_Jones):

“Ocean Conservancy is deeply concerned by David Bernhardt’s past as a corporate lobbyist for the oil and gas industry. His ties to this industry represent a clear and troubling conflict of interest and we oppose President Trump’s decision to nominate him to Secretary of Interior.

The Secretary of Interior has vast oversight when it comes to activities that take place in America’s ocean and coasts, not to mention our public lands and national parks.   We need a Secretary that understands the needs of our communities that depend on these special places, and can also protect and defend America’s greatest natural resources.

Prior to joining the Department of Interior (DOI) under the Trump Administration, Bernhardt was a Washington D.C. lobbyist for oil and gas companies. Bernhardt has already had to recuse himself from official DOI business due to conflicts of interest with at least 26 former clients. As the Deputy Secretary and Acting Secretary of Interior, he has repeatedly catered to the oil and gas industry at the direct expense of a healthy ocean and the communities that depend on it.

We urge members of Congress to question Bernhardt about his conflicts of interest as they deliberate his nomination.”