Mar 28, 2019
"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:
\u201cDave! Buddy! We're right here! Turn around and say hi!\u201d— DOI Swamp Monster (@DOI Swamp Monster) 1553786743
\u201cdude, 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! BEHIND YOU, BRO!\u201d— DOI Swamp Monster (@DOI Swamp Monster) 1553786743
The Twitter account also highlighted Bernhardt's history at both the department and as an industry lobbyist.
\u201cDude, just a reminder, totally don't lie like you *MIGHT* have last time. We totally have your back though if you run into trouble. Here for you bro! Appreciate you! https://t.co/vfnPv6mE19\u201d— DOI Swamp Monster (@DOI Swamp Monster) 1553786743
\u201cONE MILLION DOLLARS??!!! https://t.co/HvhvujHztf\n\nnice haul Davy! also, beers are on you HAHAHAHA!\u201d— DOI Swamp Monster (@DOI Swamp Monster) 1553789423
\u201c'member that other time when we called you our boy bc you always do whatever we say? Like ALWAYS! You're so rad. And that was when you were just #2!! \n\nNOW YOU'RE GONNA BE #1!!! \n\nTHIS RULES!!!! \n\nhttps://t.co/zZQJrFUMcZ\u201d— DOI Swamp Monster (@DOI Swamp Monster) 1553786743
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.
\u201cIt was heartwarming to see this swamp monster family reunion at David Bernhardt's hearing this morning.\n\n#StopBernhardt\u201d— Friends of the Earth (Action) (@Friends of the Earth (Action)) 1553781731
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."
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.