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David Bernhardt

U.S. Secretary of the Interior (2019 - Present)

Quick Facts
Personal Details

David Bernhardt is the current U.S. secretary of the interior. He is the 53rd person to serve in the position. Bernhardt served as acting secretary from January 2, 2019, when former Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned, to April 11, 2019.

Trump formally nominated Bernhardt to the position on March 11, 2019, and the U.S. Senate confirmed him on April 11, 2019, on a 56 - 41 vote.

On February 4, 2019, President Donald Trump (R) announced that he would nominate Bernhardt to serve as U.S. secretary of the interior. In a tweet, Trump wrote, "David has done a fantastic job from the day he arrived, and we look forward to having his nomination officially confirmed!"

Bernhardt commented on Trump's announcement, writing in a tweet, "It’s a humbling privilege to be nominated to lead a Department whose mission I love, to accomplish the balanced, common sense vision of our President."

The secretary of the Interior is responsible for overseeing the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), which "conserves and manages the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people, provides scientific and other information about natural resources and natural hazards to address societal challenges and create opportunities for the American people, and honors the Nation’s trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities to help them prosper."

Before serving as acting secretary, Bernhardt served as deputy secretary of the Interior. He was confirmed by the Senate on July 24, 2017, and was sworn into office on August 1, 2017. Bernhardt was also a member of Trump's transition team, a group of advisors tasked with recommending presidential appointments for the incoming administration.

From 1998 to 2001, Bernhardt was an associate with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. After an eight-year hiatus from lobbying, Bernhardt returned to Brownstein as a shareholder. He also served as the co-chair of the firm’s Natural Resources Department.

In 2001, he took a position with the U.S. Department of the Interior as the counselor to the secretary and director of the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs. In 2004, he became the counselor to the secretary and deputy chief of staff within the department. In 2005, he was the deputy solicitor and, in 2006, he was the solicitor. He remained solicitor until 2009.

Education

  • JD, Law, George Washington University Law School, 1991-1994
  • BA, Political Science, University of Northern Colorado, 1990

Professional Experience

  • JD, Law, George Washington University Law School, 1991-1994
  • BA, Political Science, University of Northern Colorado, 1990
  • Shareholder, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, 2009-2017
  • Commissioner, International Boundary Commission, United States and Canada, 2007-2009
  • Solicitor, United States Department of the Interior, 2006-2009
  • Deputy Solicitor, United States Department of the Interior, 2005-2006
  • Counselor to the Secretary/Deputy Chief of Staff, United States Department of the Interior, 2004-2005
  • Counselor to the Secretary/Director of Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs, United States Department of the Interior, 2001-2004

Political Experience

  • JD, Law, George Washington University Law School, 1991-1994
  • BA, Political Science, University of Northern Colorado, 1990
  • Shareholder, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, 2009-2017
  • Commissioner, International Boundary Commission, United States and Canada, 2007-2009
  • Solicitor, United States Department of the Interior, 2006-2009
  • Deputy Solicitor, United States Department of the Interior, 2005-2006
  • Counselor to the Secretary/Deputy Chief of Staff, United States Department of the Interior, 2004-2005
  • Counselor to the Secretary/Director of Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs, United States Department of the Interior, 2001-2004
  • Secretary, United States Department of the Interior, 2019-present
  • Confirmed by the United States Senate, Secretary, United States Department of the Interior, April 11th, 2019
  • Acting Secretary, United States Department of the Interior, 2019
  • Nominated by President Donald Trump, Secretary, United States Department of the Interior, Feburary 4th, 2019
  • Deputy Secretary, United States Department of the Interior, 2017-2018
  • Nominated by President Donald Trump, Deputy Secretary, United States Department of the Interior, April 28th, 2017
  • Confirmed by the United States Senate, Deputy Secretary, United States Department of the Interior, July 24th, 2017
Articles

U.S. Senate Confirms Katharine MacGregor as Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior

Feb. 26, 2020

Today, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Katharine MacGregor to be the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior with a 58-38 vote. MacGregor has been serving as the Deputy Chief of Staff exercising the authority of the Deputy Secretary since May of 2019. "Kate will be a tremendous leader and serve the American people admirably," said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. "I am pleased that the Senate finally confirmed her." "I am humbled and so grateful to President Trump, Secretary Bernhardt and the Senate for this incredible opportunity. Now I look forward to getting back to work to fulfill the Presidents priorities to promote economic strength for all American's and to advance the mission of DOI. And Happy Birthday Dad!" said U.S Deputy Secretary of the Interior Katharine MacGregor. MacGregor has served in several positions at the Department since joining the Trump Administration in January 2017, including Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary - Land and Minerals Management and Deputy Chief of Staff. MacGregor has worked on issues that include improving responsible domestic energy and mineral development, combating missing and murdered American Indians and Alaskan Natives, enhancing rural broadband and executing on other Administration priorities. Prior to joining the Department, MacGregor worked on Capitol Hill for 10 years, serving for two Chairmen of the House Natural Resources Committee. She is a native of Pennsylvania and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Over 200 elected leaders and external stakeholder organizations throughout the country expressed their support for Katharine MacGregor's nomination to be the next Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior. "Kate MacGregor clearly knows the issues surrounding energy development, wildlife, water and other natural resources," said Governor Mark Gordon (R-WY). "She understands the federal government should be a good neighbor when dealing with landowners, mineral split estates and state agencies." "Kate MacGregor approaches each task with energy, determination and excellence, never tiring of the work before her," said Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND). "She illustrated a true passion for good governance, public land management, energy independence and conservation stewardship." "Kate MacGregor has a strong record of supporting responsible renewable energy development, which is critical to an all-of-the-above energy approach that moves our nation toward energy independence and vital for the leadership role for which she has been nominated," said Tom Kiernan, President of the American Wind Energy Association. "AWEA supports her confirmation and looks forward to continuing to work with her to advance our priorities". "Under the leadership of Secretary Bernhardt, the DOI is an indispensable partner in the management of our Federal forests," said Bill Imbergamo, Executive Director of the Federal Forest Resource Coalition. "Kate MacGregor's demonstrated experience with DOI and working as the acting Deputy Secretary of the DOI makes her uniquely prepared for this position." "Kate MacGregor's deep knowledge and experience of natural resources, environmental, energy, public lands and wildlife issues mean she understands how to strike the balance between conservation and productive uses of public lands," said Kathleen Sgamma, President of Western Energy Alliance. "Western Energy Alliance strongly supports Katharine MacGregor's confirmation as the next Deputy Secretary of the Interior." "We believe Kate MacGregor will make decisions in a way that advances tribal sovereignty and the trust responsibility between the United States, including the Gila River Indian Community," said Stephen Roe Lewis, Governor of the Gila River Indian Community. "Kate MacGregor has demonstrated her vested commitment to advancing public access opportunities on federal lands and waters for a diversity of outdoor recreationalists, including America's sportsmen and women, while also advancing sound conservation policies," said Jeffrey Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. "Kate MacGregor's experience on Capitol Hill and with the Department of the Interior, has shown and she has proven to be a more than capable leader, administrator, and strong proponent of the Department's mission," said Conrad Stewart, Board of Directors for National Tribal Energy Association. "She has been a strong advocate for Tribes, Tribal Sovereignty, and the issues important to us." "Kate MacGregor has an exceptionally strong background that has prepared her extraordinarily well to serve in this capacity," said Ryan Flynn, Executive Director of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. "Kate MacGregor was a strong advocate for Indian Country while working on the House Natural Resources Committee, particularly with respect to supporting responsible energy development on Indian lands," said Christine Sage, Chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. "She has furthered policies related to the serious concern over missing and murdered Native Americans, addressing domestic violence in Native communities and highlighting the cold cases that plague tribal communities across the Country."

Interior Provides More Than $11.3 Million in Conservation Funding for Kentucky to Reclaim and Repurpose Abandoned Coal Mines

Feb. 6, 2020

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt today announced that the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) will provide $11,314,447 to Kentucky in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Reclamation grants, to clean up and repurpose abandoned coal mines. A total of $170.9 million in AML Reclamation funding will be available to states and tribes in FY 2020. "These grants help bring our coalfields full circle by providing funds to rehabilitate the same land that generated affordable power and infused our economy through coal mining for generations," said U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (KY). "Coupled with the AML Pilot Grants since 2016, we are covering more ground faster in Kentucky than ever before. It is vital that we revive our environment and our economy in coal country for future generations." "AML grants provide states, tribes and local partners with important resources to reclaim lands and waters impacted by abandoned mines, restoring the promise of the outdoors for hardworking Americans in coal country," said Secretary Bernhardt. "OSMRE is proud to announce today the 2020 AML grants availability," said Principal Deputy Director exercising the authority of the OSMRE Director Lanny E. Erdos. "These grants will continue to ensure our state and tribal partners have the resources needed to continue their decades of successful work on our nation's AML sites." "Kentucky holds great potential for the future, and I'm grateful Secretary Bernhardt and the Interior Department continue investing in our Commonwealth," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY). "As a strong supporter of the AML grants program, I look forward to its many benefits for Kentucky's environment and the new opportunities it can present for families in the Bluegrass State. I'll continue partnering with the Trump administration as Senate Majority Leader to deliver critical federal resources for Kentucky communities." "The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement has worked diligently for more than four decades to address the hazards of abandoned mine land across the country," said U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (KY). "I voted in favor of this funding in Congress as it will aid in giving communities damaged by the loss of coal production a fresh start. The $11 million allocated to Kentucky today will be used for reclaiming and repurposing land in the Sixth District and across the Commonwealth." "This announcement is good news for rural Kentucky, and I am hopeful that this funding from the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Fund will contribute to mine cleanup and future economic development in our Western Kentucky coal communities," said U.S. Rep. James Comer (KY). "As a region that has produced much of the coal that has powered our economy and kept our lights on, it is critical that Western Kentucky sees these coal dollars reinvested back into our local economy. Citizens from our coal communities expect and deserve nothing less, and I am thankful and excited to see Kentucky receive a share of these funds." "I am proud to support Kentucky's coal mines. These grants will help ensure that the coal mines no longer in use can be safely cleaned up and transformed into outdoor spaces," said U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY). "I want to thank Secretary Bernhardt and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement for awarding this competitive grant to Kentucky." OSMRE provides AML grants to the 25 coal-producing states and three tribes based on a congressionally mandated formula that evaluates past and current coal production by these entities. Each year, after the distribution is announced, eligible states and tribes apply for annual reclamation grants to access money in their allocations. OSMRE evaluates and verifies the requests and makes the award amounts available. The AML Grants are funded in part by a fee collected on all coal produced in the United States. Under the AML Reclamation Program, OSMRE has distributed billions in grants to states and tribes. The funds have directly contributed to AML Reclamation Program achievements including the closure of over 45,000 abandoned underground mine shafts and openings, the elimination of over 960 miles of dangerous highwalls and the restoration of over 850,000 acres of clogged streams and land. OSMRE and its state and tribal partners have worked for more than 42 years to address the physical hazards posed by lands and waters mined and abandoned or left inadequately restored before 1977 when the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) was enacted. Learn more about Congressman Rogers' work for Kentucky's Fifth Congressional District at halrogers.house.gov.

Bergman Issues Statement on Next Steps for Cormorant Management

Jan. 21, 2020

Today, the Department of Interior announced it will be moving forward in its process to address management options for the double-crested cormorant."The lack of management options for double-crested cormorants has negatively impacted Michigan's First District, where we rely on healthy fisheries and our thriving natural resources. This next step by the Department of Interior is long- awaited and much- needed in Michigan, where our state and local partners stand ready to be the example of "how to' when it comes to cormorant management." said Bergman. "We can protect one species without harming another; but as we've seen over the past three and a half years, doing nothing is not the answer. Without the ability to manage cormorant populations, the livelihood of our recreational and commercial fishing industries has been threatened. As the Fish and Wildlife Service begins its public comment period on future management options, I will continue to advocate for comprehensive, data-driven species management in our communities." Additional information about this process can be found here. The public comment period will be open until March 9, 2020. Written comments can be submitted either: -Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2019-0103.-By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS--HQ--MB--2019--0103; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: JAO/1N, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041--3803. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The release by the U.S. Department of Interior can be found below: WASHINGTON - As part of ongoing efforts to address conflicts between double-crested cormorants and wild and stocked fisheries, the Department of the Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is announcing an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) and soliciting public input on future management options. "Balancing the protection of native wildlife with economic and human health needs is fundamental to effective management practices," said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. "Today's action starts the process of improving management and further reduces conflicts with double-crested cormorants throughout the United States." Future management actions built on a strong biological foundation ensure cormorant populations are managed responsibly and in compliance with federal laws and regulations, while balancing economic development, human health and safety, endangered species management and other priorities. "We are building long-term solutions for managing conflicts with double-crested cormorants under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act while maintaining healthy populations of this species," said Aurelia Skipwith, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "This effort, in collaboration with our partners, will ensure continued good stewardship of our natural resources." In 2017, the Service completed an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) evaluating options for issuing individual depredation permits to provide relief for aquaculture facilities experiencing direct economic losses from cormorants across 37 central and eastern states and the District of Columbia. The EA analyzed options for the issuance of depredation permits for cormorants where there is either significant economic damage to aquaculture facilities, significant damage to native vegetation, significant impact on a threatened or endangered species, or significant human safety risks. Upon completion of the EA on November 15, 2017, the Service began issuing permits to aquaculture facility managers and property owners across 37 central and eastern states and the District of Columbia. This review did not include potential damage to recreational and commercial fishing by cormorants. Since the publication of the EA, the Service engaged stakeholders to assess the biological, social and economic significance of wild fish-cormorant interactions, and to identify a suite of management alternatives. The Service is also currently working with tribes, state fish and wildlife agencies and other federal partners to assess comprehensive management options for cormorants across the United States."I am pleased to see the Department is moving forward in the rulemaking process for the depredation of double-crested cormorants. This is a desperately needed next step for Michigan's First District, where over-population is threatening the health of our free swimming and recreational fisheries," said U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman (MI-01). "I am grateful the Administration has committed to this process to ensure a long-term and effective management plan for Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula." "With nearly 30,000 water surface acres across Arkansas used for aquaculture production, our fish farmers contributed $71.1 million to our state's economy in 2017. However, the United States Department of Agriculture estimates double-crested cormorants cause more than $25 million in damage annually within the aquaculture industry. These birds have become the foremost antagonists of fish farmers. We need commonsense solutions that allow aquaculture producers to safeguard their fish from these predators," said U.S. Sen. John Boozman (AR). "I applaud the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for responding to the need of aquaculture producers by increasing the amount of maximum allowable take of double-crested cormorants, and I look forward to working with the Department of Interior and USFWS to ensure we can find commonsense solutions to ease the burden for hard working Arkansan aquaculture producers." "Arkansans are experiencing the harmful impact of double-crested cormorants across the state. As one of the top aquaculture producers in the nation, Arkansas and its fish farmers are suffering millions of dollars in losses as these avian predators consume critical inventory," said U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (AR). "I am glad the Department of Interior is taking this problem seriously and hope that further progress will come swiftly." "Bird predation costs producers millions of dollars every year. I applaud the Department of the Interior for taking this important step to help aquacultures producers address those losses," said U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS). "The double-crested cormorant has been detrimental to Mississippi's catfish farmers," said U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (MS). "I am pleased that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking this issue seriously and is considering options to allow aquaculture producers to manage the populations of these predatory birds that are destroying fish populations." "I am pleased with the efforts and action by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to increase the allowable take of double-crested cormorants. This is a necessary step to mitigate more than $25 million in annual damages to the catfish and aquaculture industry," said U.S. Rep. Michael Guest (MS-03). "I'm supportive of this proposed rule, which will have a positive impact on Mississippi's catfish industry, and I will continue to work with FWS to promote Mississippi's aquaculture needs." "Science has consistently proven that managing cormorants is necessary to protect not just aquaculture but fishing as well. I applaud the administration for listening to input, increasing the take and promoting sound scientific practices," said U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04). "Double-crested cormorants can pose a significant threat to American aquaculture. The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased to learn that the Department of the Interior is moving forward to help provide farmers the necessary management tools to prevent double-crested cormorants from preying on farm livestock," said President of the American Farm Bureau Federation Zippy Duvall. "The strong return of double crested cormorants is a significant conservation success. But in the absence of natural predators, cormorants are inflicting substantial depredation on both private and public aquatic resources. This effort by the Fish and Wildlife Service is necessary and appropriate to maintain a healthy ecosystem," said Former Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dale Hall. Public scoping for the rulemaking process will begin with the publication of the ANPR in the Federal Register on January 22, 2020, and will continue for 45 days until March 9, 2020. To promulgate a proposed rule and prepare a draft environmental review pursuant to NEPA, the Service will take into consideration all comments and any additional information received on or before that date. You may submit written comments by one of the following methods. Please do not submit comments by both. We do not accept email or faxes. -Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2019-0103.-By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS--HQ--MB--2019--0103; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: JAO/1N, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041--3803. The Service seeks comments or suggestions from the public, governmental agencies, tribes, the scientific community, industry or any other interested parties. Areas for consideration include but are not limited to: potential reporting and monitoring strategies of cormorants by states and participating tribes; impacts on floodplains, wetlands, wild and scenic rivers or ecologically sensitive areas; impacts to other species of wildlife, including endangered or threatened species; and impacts on prime agricultural lands. Please see the Federal Register notice for more details. The Fish and Wildlife service will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. The Service will hold public scoping meetings in the form of multiple webinars in February 2020. More information about the rulemaking process, cormorants and meetings, including how to register, will be posted online at https://www.fws.gov/birds/management/managed-species/double-crested-cormorants.php

Events

2020

Mar. 23
Managers Institute on Public Policy Training

EDT

U.S. Department of the Interior Washington D.C.

Feb. 23
Wildland Fire Hiring Event

PST

Four Points Sheraton 5101 California Avenue Bakersfield, California 93309

Feb. 22
Wildland Fire Hiring Event

PST

Four Points Sheraton 5101 California Avenue Bakersfield, California 93309