- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 3, 2019

A coalition of 20 conservative organizations and 24 prominent individuals are urging the U.S. Senate to confirm David Bernhardt “without delay” as secretary of the Department of Interior — a post he has held on an interim basis since January.

The letter, which was signed by such groups as the Heartland Institute, the Competetive Enterprise Institute and FreedomWorks, praised Mr. Bernhardt’s action as acting secretary, noting that he had “played a key role in the Trump administration’s sound stewardship of federal lands.

“Under the Trump administration and Mr. Bernhardt, DOI finalized the Hunt-Fish Rule which removed approximately 1,400 regulations and simplified 710 regulations to reduce the regulatory burden on the public, more closely match state hunting and fishing regulations, and expand hunting and fishing opportunities at 136 refuges,” noted the signatories.

The letter released Wednesday said Mr. Bernhardt’s actions as acting secretary have also “promoted American energy abundance and reform of over-intrusive government regulations and restrictions” and saved billions of dollars through deregulation and “concrete steps to expedite and streamline the permitting process for infrastructure and energy projects.”

It mentioned Interior’s working with local stakeholders of both parties in the West to manage the sage grouse with plans that “have unanimous support of governors of Wyoming, Nevada, California, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Colorado.”

Mr. Bernhardt, who also had been deputy secretary since July 2017, testified last week before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which is considering his nomination. Among other things, rebuffed Democratic demands that he recuse himself from any decision involving former clients beyond the mandated one-year period.

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