It’s the end of 2018, and embattled Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has officially moved out of his post amidst a spiraling storm of controversy surrounding endless ethics scandals:
- Extravagant travel expenses for Zinke and his wife Lola at taxpayer expense
- Violations of the ethics pledge Zinke signed in January 2017 before being confirmed as Secretary of the Interior
- Montana Land deal while Secretary of Interior connected with Halliburton, personally benefitting Zinke
- Consistently blending political events and official events, examples that include jetting off to luxurious destinations such as the Virgin Islands in support of gun-club
- Attempt to remove the Interior’s Inspector General who was investigating Zinke
Zinke rode into town on his horse back in 2017, literally, and is leaving in what amounts to a tornado of ethics violations… 18 formal investigation in all, according to Mother Jones on October 31, 2018.
So who’s been tapped to take Zinke’s place in light of all these controversies? Unfortunately, someone who appears to be cut from the same cloth as Zinke, Deputy United States Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt.
Already confirmed by the Senate, Bernhardt could potentially step right in without delay. A power lobbyist for oil & gas, as well as water in California’s Central Valley farm belt, Bernhardt is someone who’s worked closely with Nunes and the Central Valley’s wetlands and aligns himself with Nunes’ perspective.
Environmentalists have good reason to be very concerned about the Department of the Interior being led by this type of power broker with such strong ties to the oil & gas industry. Our National Parks are considered out most valuable natural resource, the heart of our trillion dollar tourism industry and must be protected without delay.
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