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Earthjustice Praises House Committee for Granting New Investigative Powers to Chairman

Move will enhance scrutiny of Department of Interior officials with extensive ties to coal and oil industry

Bernhardt was a top lobbyist for the oil and gas industry before serving as Interior Secretary.

DAVID ZALUBOWSKI / AP
February 12, 2020
Washington, D.C. —

The House Committee on Natural Resources granted Chairman Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) with the authority to issue subpoenas for material and information from the Department of Interior and its related agencies. The Interior Department has been notoriously opaque on its dealings with extractive, polluting industries as Secretary David Bernhardt has been greenlighting proposals to allow mining, drilling, and logging on public lands. 

The following is a statement from Addie Haughey, legislative director for lands, wildlife and oceans at Earthjustice:

“The Trump administration can’t hide its corrupt dealings with coal, oil, and logging industry executives anymore. Today’s move will ensure that the people’s elected representatives have the full power of the law backing them as they attempt to shine a light on the real motives for the Trump-Bernhardt agenda. We appreciate the Natural Resources Committee’s efforts to uphold constitutional checks and balances, and to ensure that no one, no matter how powerful or well-connected, is above the law in our country.”

The Trump administration has been unresponsive on a number of document requests from Congress, including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s proposal to relocate its headquarters to share a building with a Chevron corporate office, the Interior Secretary’s efforts to pressure officials to weaken their stance on a massive development near the San Pedro River to benefit a political donor, and delays on Endangered Species Act pesticide reviews, among others.

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Contacts

Phil LaRue, Earthjustice, (202) 797-4317