CALL SCRIPT

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [CITY, ZIP].

I urge you to oppose the confirmation of David Bernhardt, President Trump’s nominee to replace Ryan Zinke as the head of the Department of the Interior (DOI). Bernhardt is Trump’s choice because he is able and willing to advance the Administration’s “energy dominance” agenda, which includes enabling oil and gas interests and big agribusiness to profit from despoiling federal lands. As Secretary of the Interior, he decides whether to open land up for leasing, grant permits, and establish guidelines for use. Don’t give him this power!

Bernhardt has too many well-documented ties to the fossil fuel industry and has demonstrated extraordinary zeal in helping them circumvent environmental, endangered species, clean air and water regulations. His polluting clients paid him generously when he was their lobbyist between his stints at DOI (during the Obama administration). The number of potential conflicts of interest is alarming when so many of Bernhardt’s former clients frequently have business before DOI.

Protect our interests. Vote NO on Bernhardt’s confirmation.

Thank you for your time and attention.

[If leaving a voicemail, leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]

California Senator Contact Info

  • Senator Dianne Feinstein: (415) 393-0707, (310) 914-7300, (202) 224-3841, or email.
  • Senator Kamala Harris: (415) 355-9041, (213) 894-5000, (202) 224-3553, or email.

Background

“Historically, the Interior Department’s concept has been multi-use,” says Raúl Grijalva, a congressman from Arizona and the incoming chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources. “Yes, there is extraction from our public lands, but that’s become the only thing now. But there’s also conservation, there’s preservation, there’s species protection, there’s habitat protection, there are wilderness areas, and there are some areas you should just leave alone—and those have been blatantly ignored by this administration.” (National Geographic, December 19, 2018.)

Bernhardt cannot be trusted to use his position to protect the public interest. He’s willing to sacrifice our environment and cultural heritage to fossil fuel profiteers. For instance, during the recent government shutdown, while 800,000 employees were furloughed, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employees continued to process oil and gas leases on public lands when BLM lacked the necessary funds and staff to comply with legal requirements—such as environmental reviews and 30-day public comment periods. This at a time when climate change is a real and present danger and when we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground. At present, Bureau of Land Management fossil fuel leases account for 24 percent of our energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Bernhardt’s skill at advancing anti-environmental interests—whether that be for the benefit of the fossil fuel energy industry or big agribusiness—is well documented. His talent as a lobbyist was for using the law to undermine or by-pass environmental, endangered species, health and safety regulations and conservation protections. Now as acting secretary of DOI, he is inside the hen house, so to speak, and has already used his position to attempt to roll back protections for federal lands that favor resource exploitation by corporations.

A few of his more notorious anti-environmental proposals include pushing oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during the government shutdown; promoting off-shore drilling off the coasts of Alaska and California and in the Gulf of Mexico, again during the government shutdown; drawing water from the aquifer beneath the Mohave Desert, in response to demands of big farmers; allowing fracking and oil and gas lease sales in the Greater Chaco Canyon Area of New Mexico, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and pumping more water from the Delta to the Central Valley, overriding California’s own plans to manage it’s own water and environment.

References

Trump Administration Moves Forward with Oil and Gas Development, Despite Government Shutdown
In the Blink of an Eye, a Hunt for Oil Threatens Pristine Alaska
Senate Democrats question offshore drilling work amid shutdown
A massive aquifer lies beneath the Mojave Desert. Could it help solve California’s water problem?
Fracking Will Be The Demise of Ancient and Modern Chaco Canyon
Will Trump’s California water plan send more to Republican farmers and short Democratic cities?
What will Zinke’s departure mean for public lands?
Trump Chooses David Bernhardt, a Former Oil Lobbyist, to Head Interior Department
Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is Big Oil’s Lapdog
Campaign for Accountability
“The Guy Doing the Dirty Work” . . . is an Ex-Oil Lobbyist Straight Out of the Swamp
Polluter Watch Profile - David Bernhardt