CLCV statement on confirmation of David Bernhardt as Interior Secretary

Press Release
April 11, 2019


Andy Kelley, [email protected], (510)844-0229

CLCV warns of attacks on California's environmental protections from David Bernhardt

CLCV urges California's legislative leaders to prepare to defend our environmental protections against Trump's most conflicted Cabinet Member

OAKLAND — The California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) today released the following statement in response to the Senate's confirmation of David Bernhardt.

“Former coal lobbyist David Bernhardt literally represents every special interest group our National Parks and natural resources need protection from. With today’s committee vote advancing his candidacy, there has never been a more important time to reach out to our Senators and urge them to oppose Bernhardt’s nomination immediately. With Bernhardt’s ties to special interests behind environmentally destructive projects right here in California, the stakes for inaction are too high,” said Mary Creasman, CEO of the California League of Conservation Voters.


Conflicts of Interest: Included below is a partial list of Bernhardt’s key California connections/conflicts, and why they’re at odds with the interests of our state. Additional resources available upon request.

Cadiz Inc.: While working as a lobbyist at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Bernhardt was co-chair of Brownstein’s natural resources department alongside Scott Slater, the CEO of Cadiz Inc. Cadiz is a Southern California company that is attempting to pump billions of gallons of groundwater a year and pipe it across the Mojave Desert to sell to cities in Southern California. In order for the controversial project to succeed, Cadiz requires permits from Interior. In October 2017, the Bureau of Land Management reversed an Obama-era guidance that had been a major obstacle for the Cadiz project. The change of administrative opinion could make millions for Cadiz Inc. Additionally, Bernhardt’s former company has already earned 200,000 shares of Cadiz stock for its involvement with the company and stands to earn another 200,000 if the project is completed. Fortunately, California lawmakers have introduced Senate Bill 307 (Roth), which ensures greater oversight of the project and prioritizes a thorough review of the environmental impacts of the Cadiz Water Project should it be approved.

Offshore Drilling/Ties to Big Oil: Oil executives, many of whom are Bernhardt’s former colleagues, are thrilled with the high-level access they’re getting to the Interior Department. Big Oil’s seat at the table is unprecedented, and will have a direct impact on environmental protections that affect their bottom lines — rules concerning smog, fracking and endangered species protection.

Bernhardt will oversee the five-year oil and gas leasing plan Trump announced in July 2017, which would open waters off California and every other mainland coastal state in the United States to offshore oil and gas drilling. New members of Congress in California have responded with a sustained and powerful rejection of the Administration’s shameful act of selling California’s iconic coasts to fossil fuel special interests. In the 2017 annual PPIC survey, a record low 25% of California adults favored more oil drilling off the California coast while a record high 69% opposed it.

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