David Bernhardt Biography
David Bernhardt (Full name David Longly Bernhardt) is an American attorney, former lobbyist, and government administrator who is serving as United States Interior Secretary. Bernhardt was born on August 17th, 1969, in Rifle, Colorado, United States.
As he was Growing up in Rifle, Colorado, Bernhardt was active in Colorado politics from the age of sixteen, when he made his case to the Rifle City Council to not levy taxes on arcade games at a teen center he was starting in his hometown. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado in 1990. While at the university, he applied for and received an internship at the Supreme Court of the United States. He is an honors graduate from the George Washington University Law School in 1994. later that year, He was admitted to the Colorado Bar Association.
He is a partner and shareholder at the Colorado law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, he began working for the U.S Department of the Interior in 2001.
David Bernhardt Age
He was born on 17th August 1969. Bernhardt is 53 years old as of 2023. He celebrates his birthday on August 17 every year.
David Bernhardt Education
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado in 1990. While at the university, he applied for and received an internship at the Supreme Court of the United States. He is an honors graduate from the George Washington University Law School in 1994. later that year, He was admitted to the Colorado Bar Association.
David Bernhardt Height |Weight
He stands on an average height of 5 Feet 4 inches and weighs around 85kgs.
David Bernhardt Family
David Bernhardt Wife
He is happily married to Gena and they reside in Arlington, Virginia with their two children. Bernhardt is a hunter and angler.
David Bernhardt Children
Bernhardt and his wife Gena are blessed with two children, hence he has not revealed information regarding his wife. This information is currently under review.
David Bernhardt Career
Early legal career
David started his career as a lawyer in Colorado. Early in the 1990s, he worked for U.S. Representative Scott McInnis, a Grand Junction Republican. Then in 1998, he became an associate with Brownstein Hyatt and Farber, a Denver law and lobbying firm.
Department of the Interior Solicitor
He began working for the United States Department of the Interior (DOI) in 2001. Early in his career with the DOI, he was deputy chief of staff and counselor to Gale Norton who was then-Secretary of the Interior. David also served early on at the DOI as director of congressional and legislative affairs. Later David became a solicitor at the DOI after unanimous confirmation from the United States Senate. He also served as United States Commissioner to the International Boundary Commission, U.S., and Canada.
David served as Solicitor of the United States Department of the Interior from 2006 to 2009. President Bush nominated him in November 2005, subject to Senate confirmation. He was deputy solicitor at the time. Bernhardt was sworn into office in November 2006, after being unanimously confirmed by the Senate.
Legal work and lobbying
David served as DOI Solicitor until 2009. That same year he rejoined the Colorado-based law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. David became a shareholder in the firm and chairman of the firm’s natural resources law practice. David’s clients included Halliburton, Cobalt International Energy, Samson Resources, and the Independent Petroleum Association of America.
Through Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, David represented San Joaquin Valley’s Westlands Water District in “a lawsuit that sought to stop court-imposed protections for endangered salmon in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.” He also represented entities such as the proposed Rosemont Copper open-pit mine in Arizona. Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck represented other mining, oil, and extractive industries, as well as projects such as the Cadiz, Inc. groundwater pumping project in the Mojave Desert in California. Cadiz Inc. later refuted that Bernhardt had lobbied directly for the company, though environmentalists at the non-profit Center for Biological Diversity suspected David’s involvement when the DOI changed its views to positive towards the project in March 2017.
In 2011, David filed a lawsuit for Westlands that “sought to force the feds to make good on a commitment to build a multibillion-dollar system to dispose of the poisoned water” resulting from toxic irrigation in the Westlands. Later, through the bill HR 1769(2017), Westlands agreed to drop the lawsuit in exchange for forgiven debt and long-term access to water from Central Valley Project facilities. In April 2017, the House Natural Resources Committee approved the settlement but rejected an amendment that would have “barred former Westlands officials or lobbyists.
DOI transition team
Until the end of 2016, he remained an attorney and lobbyist for the San Joaquin Valley’s Westlands Water District. In the same year, David de-listed himself as a lobbyist, to avoid “running afoul of the new president’s ban on lobbyists joining his administration.” After his withdrawal as a formal registration as a lobbyist, he became a consultant to the Westlands Water District. From November 2016 Bernhardt was briefly in charge of the Interior Department transition team for President Donald Trump. He was in charge of overseeing staffing in the DOI along with David Nunes. Before January 2017, he served on the board of directors for the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries, resigning prior to January 2017. By April this year, he was on a $20,000-a-month retainer for Westlands.
Until his resignation in early 2017, he was on the board of the Center for Environmental Science Accuracy and Reliability.
Deputy Secretary of the Interior
On April 28th, 2017, Bernhardt was nominated by President Trump to be the United States Deputy Secretary of the Interior. On July 24, 2017, the U.S. Senate confirmed Bernhardt’s nomination by a vote of 53–43. He was then sworn into office on August 1, 2017.
During his tenure as Deputy Secretary and Acting Secretary, the Department of the Interior has substantially increased fossil fuel sales on public land and embarked on a program of deregulation. on February 5th, 2019 was nominated by the Trump administration to head the ministry of interior.
David Bernhardt Nominations
On April 28, 2017, President Donald Trump nominated him to be the United States Deputy Secretary of the Interior. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 24, 2017. He was then sworn into office on August 1, 2017. Bernhardt became Acting Secretary of the Interior on January 2, 2019, replacing Ryan Zinke. On February 4th, 2019, David was nominated by President Donald Trump to head the interior ministry.
The Interior Department, which employs more than 70,000 people and oversees more than 20 percent of the U.S. land surface, has been central to Trump’s “energy dominance” policy of boosting energy production.
As Zinke’s deputy, Bernhardt has played a role in efforts to open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, ease Obama-era protections on a bird called the greater sage grouse to boost drilling and mining across the West, and open federal lands to leases for coal mining.
Ann Navaro, a former Department of Interior official who served in the Obama and Trump administrations and worked closely with Bernhardt, said he is a rare “lawyer’s lawyer” who prepares thoroughly for meetings, often being the only one in a room to have read full environmental assessments of projects and plans.
Bernhardt, who prefers conservative suits to Zinke’s cowboy hats and boots, also worked a series of jobs at the Interior Department under former President George W. Bush from 2001 to early 2009, including as the department’s solicitor.
After working under Bush, Bernhardt became a lawyer and lobbyist at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck for water and oil interests. He represented Noble Energy, Rosemont Copper, Sempra Energy, and California’s Westlands Water District, among others.
Conflict of Interest
Bernhardt has long been an advocate of reforming the Endangered Species Act, the law that protects plants and animals at risk from resource extraction and development. If he is approved by the Senate, Bernhardt is expected to continue that work.
Critics say Bernhardt’s previous work as a lobbyist could risk conflicts of interest unless he recuses himself from certain issues because he worked for companies that could benefit by opening up lands to development.
About 150 environmental groups in 2017, including the business-friendly Natural Resources Defense Council, urged senators to oppose Bernhardt in the confirmation vote for his deputy position, saying his previous lobbyist work raised questions about his ability to act in the public interest.
Despite their letter calling him a “walking conflict of interest”, the Senate confirmed Bernhardt 53-43, on a mostly party-line vote, and with strong support from Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and other lawmakers who have large areas of U.S. lands in their states.