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A "swamp monster" peeked over the shoulder of Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt at a Senate hearing on Thursday. (Photo: @DOISwampMonster/Twitter)

Swamp Monsters Crash Hearing as Senators Consider Oil Lobbyist Bernhardt For Interior Dept.

"Dude, we also brought some conflicts of interest just for fun! I know you have a bunch already but...if you need 'em we're right here!"

Jessica Corbett

"Swamp monsters" crashed a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on Thursday about David Bernhardt, the former fossil fuel lobbyist President Donald Trump nominated to lead the U.S. Department of the Interior.

At least two hearing attendees donned green monster masks. A newly created Twitter account documented their presence:

The Twitter account also highlighted Bernhardt's history at both the department and as an industry lobbyist. 

Environmental activists raised concerns about Bernhardt even before he was confirmed as the agency's second-in-command in 2017. Late last year, after Ryan Zinke resigned amid a flurry of scandals, Bernhardt assumed the role of acting secretary. In February, Trump nominated Bernhardt to the permanent role.

More than 160 conservation groups came together earlier this week to call on the Senate to reject Bernhardt's nomination.

Martin Hayden, vice president of policy and legislation at Earthjustice, pointed out in a statement on Tuesday that, "as a lobbyist, Bernhardt's client roster reads like a who's who of the worst corporate polluters in the United States, from Taylor Energy to Halliburton."

"To confirm Bernhardt," the Natural Resources Defense Council's John Bowman warned, "is to hand over the future of our public lands, wildlife, waters, and everything they support to a man who made his living for decades attacking all of that to benefit the biggest industrial polluters on the planet."

Other opponents of Bernhardt expressed gratitude for the Swamp Monsters' attendance.

Randi Spivak, the Center for Biological Diversity's public lands director, painted a dire picture of the future of the country's environment should Bernhardt assume his duties on a permanent basis.

"If Bernhardt is confirmed, his contempt for our natural world will become even more entrenched in the Interior Department," said Spivak. "Any senator who votes to confirm him will be culpable."


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Right-Wing Justices Should Be Impeached for Lying Under Oath, Says Ocasio-Cortez

"We have a responsibility to protect our democracy," said the New York Democrat. "That includes holding those in power who violate the law accountable."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Infuriating': Biden Rebuked for Continued Opposition to Supreme Court Expansion

"What does Biden 'agree' with doing?" Mehdi Hasan asked. "What does the leader of this country want to do to stop the increasingly fascistic assault on our democratic institutions and basic rights?"

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'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

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Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

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'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·

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