'David Bernhardt, a former oil and gas and water lobbyist, will be nominated to run the interior department, Donald Trump tweeted.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2019
Bernhardt was deputy secretary and has been running the department since Ryan Zinke stepped down at the end of the year. Environmental groups have accused him of making regulatory decisions on the country’s natural resources to benefit industries, and he has led plans to weaken endangered species protections.
He is expected to continue the Trump administration’s priorities to advance oil and gas drilling and mining on or near public land.
In a statement, Bernhardt called it a “humbling privilege to be nominated to lead a department whose mission I love, to accomplish the balanced, commonsense vision of our president”.
Bernhardt’s reputation as a technocrat working efficiently behind the scenes stands as a 180-degree turn from that of his flamboyant predecessor. Zinke grabbed attention when he rode a horse to his first day at the department. Zinke soon was garnering headlines over allegations involving travel and allegations of possible conflicts of interest.
Bernhardt has remained low-profile as Trump weighed him and a half-dozen other reported contenders, chiefly western lawmakers, as successors to Zinke.'
Read more: David Bernhardt: Trump selects former oil lobbyist to oversee interior department