April 12 (UPI) — The Senate voted Thursday to confirm acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to permanently lead the department.
The upper chamber voted 56-41 in favor of the former oil lobbyist replacing Ryan Zinke, who resigned the post in January amid a number of ethics scandals and investigations.
As second in command to Zinke, Bernhardt helped push the Trump administration’s plan to open up Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and roll back Endangered Species Act regulations.
Before joining the Trump administration, Bernhardt was a lawyer for the Interior Department under President George W. Bush. He told The Washington Post in February that he makes sure he’s educated on legal and policy decisions before making up his mind on key decisions.
“I don’t shy away from reading a massive amount of material before decision,” he said. “And I don’t, for a minute, not think about the impact that it’s going to have for good or ill.”
Bernhardt is the second interior secretary to serve in Trump’s Cabinet.