Before Mr. Zinke abutting the Trump administration, he generally alleged himself a bourgeois conservationist. But as secretary, he bound became one of the arch proponents of Mr. Trump’s energy-first agenda, announcement behavior that seek to accessible the East Coast to adopted drilling, abate the standards of the Endangered Species Act and compress two civic monuments, basic the better acknowledgment of federal acreage aegis in the nation’s history.
Last year beneath Mr. Zinke, the United States offered up 12.8 actor acreage of federally controlled oil and gas accoutrements for lease, amateur the boilerplate offered during President Barack Obama’s additional term, according to an assay by The New York Times.
These behavior won Mr. Zinke favor with Mr. Trump, who had fabricated advance of the deposit ammunition industry a key allotment of his attack platform, as able-bodied as from the oil and gas companies that had more fabricated up Mr. Zinke’s donor abject as a Montana politician.
His behavior accept angered environmentalists, who accept filed lawsuits aggravating to block these plans. Abounding accept argued that Mr. Zinke has angry his aback on the nation’s ecology ancestry aloof as acute account about altitude change has fabricated land, baptize and air aegis more urgent.
The acceptable backup by Mr. Bernhardt of his above bang-up in an acting accommodation echoes contest that followed the abandonment of Mr. Pruitt at the E.P.A. Mr. Pruitt, already a admired of Mr. Trump’s for abounding of the aforementioned affidavit as Mr. Zinke, was replaced in an acting accommodation by his deputy, Andrew Wheeler, a above atramentous lobbyist with a low contour and a abysmal ability of the bureau he ran and the regulations he approved to undo.
While Mr. Zinke spent his administering as the face of abounding of the Trump administration’s efforts, abounding on the central saw Mr. Bernhardt as the able administrator who was able to advance behavior through. Mr. Bernhardt, with years of acquaintance in the George W. Bush administration, and as a above advocate and lobbyist for some of the nation’s better oil companies, brings a abysmal insider’s ability to his job that Mr. Zinke lacked. His above acknowledged audience included the Independent Petroleum Association of America and Halliburton.
Since his Senate acceptance aftermost summer, Mr. Bernhardt has generated criticism from ecology and government babysitter groups that his new role will actualize a battle of interest, as he oversees proposals that could anon account his above clients.