Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lobbying by Trump Interior Department Nominee Raises Concerns

Donald Trump’s election has been a boon for backers of a controversial plan to pump billions of gallons of water from a Mojave Desert aquifer to Southern California -- including one of the president’s nominees. David Bernhardt, on tap to be the No. 2 official in the Interior Department, has been a paid consultant to the water project’s developer, Cadiz Inc., and his law firm stands to collect millions of dollars in stock options from the company if the project clears federal regulatory hurdles and meets other milestones, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. After being fought by environmentalists and blocked by the Obama administration, Cadiz’s venture landed on a list of priority projects leaked Jan. 24, four days after Trump took office. Bernhardt had left the transition team before the list was disclosed, but environmentalists said the episode raised the possibility he may have advocated for the project from within -- illustrating the potential conflicts of interest the lawyer could face if confirmed as deputy secretary of the Interior Department...more

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