Press Release

Even with a potential Zinke departure, a drill-everywhere regime remains at Interior

Oil and gas pads near Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Aerial view of oil and gas impacts on Bureau of Land Management land near Carlsbad, NM.

Mason Cummings/TWS. Aerial support by LightHawk

David Bernhardt, Zinke's deputy secretary, has been the on-the-ground implementor of the Trump Administration’s aggressive ‘energy dominance’ agenda.

While the conduct and policies of Secretary Ryan Zinke continue to be of keen interest in post-election analysis of Trump cabinet officials facing a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, The Wilderness Society expects a drill-everywhere agenda to continue at the Department of the Interior with Zinke’s deputy secretary, David Bernhardt.

The following statement is from Wilderness Society president, Jamie Williams:  

"Unfortunately, even if Secretary Zinke is on his way out, the Interior Department remains disturbingly biased in favor of special interests over the health of American communities and the public lands that they love. Deputy Secretary Bernhardt has even deeper ties to polluters and Washington's culture of corruption, and he is embroiled in many of the same investigations that have clouded Secretary Zinke’s tenure.” 

Since becoming Deputy Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt has been the on-the-ground implementor of the Trump Administration’s ‘energy dominance’ regime. Under Bernhardt’s tenure, policies for subverting science, the public’s voice and balanced lands policy include:  

Track the cumulative array of damaging policies to public lands during the Trump Administration here.   

Blog: If Zinke is out, his potential replacement may be just as bad (or worse)


Drew McConville, Senior Managing Director, Government Relations, DC: [email protected];  202-556-0490 

Tony Iallonardo, Director – Communications Strategy, DC: [email protected]; 202-503-8581 

The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands.