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Trump nominates David Bernhardt as interior secretary

By
Danielle Haynes
President Donald Trump (C), nominated acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt (R), pictured visiting the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial with Vice President Mike Pence, to permanently lead the department. Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI
President Donald Trump (C), nominated acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt (R), pictured visiting the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial with Vice President Mike Pence, to permanently lead the department. Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 4 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Monday nominated acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to permanently lead the department.

If confirmed, Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist, would take over for former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who resigned in January amid a number of ethics scandals and investigations.

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"I am pleased to announce that David Bernhardt, Acting Secretary of the Interior, will be nominated as Secretary of the Interior. David has done a fantastic job from the day he arrived, and we look forward to having his nomination officially confirmed!" Trump tweeted.

As second in command to Zinke, Bernhardt helped push the Trump administration's plan to open up Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and roll back Endangered Species Act regulations, The Hill reported.

Before joining the Trump administration, Bernhardt was a lawyer for the Interior Department under President George W. Bush. He told The Washington Post that he makes sure he's educated on legal and policy decisions before making up his mind on key decisions.

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"I don't shy away from reading a massive amount of material before decision," he said. "And I don't, for a minute, not think about the impact that it's going to have for good or ill."

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