Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Interior secretary defends budget amid heated criticism of Trump policies

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt faced a contentious hearing Wednesday with the Senate Appropriations Committee filled with accusations he is working on behalf of the oil industry and ignoring climate science. “When I look across the landscape, here's what I see,” panel ranking member Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said. “In three years, this administration has actively worked to dismantle 50 years worth of protections from bedrock environmental laws, decimated Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments, ignoring the voices of native communities, weakened protections for endangered species and dismantled migratory bird protections, put an anti-public lands zealot in charge of managing public lands, adopted a drill-at-all-costs approach for managing or public lands and abandon any and all efforts to fight climate change.”Bernhardt was also criticized over his choice to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), William Perry Pendley, and efforts to vastly reduce the bureau’s employees in Washington, relocating them out West. Pendley, prior to joining Interior, spent his career advocating for selling off public lands and worked for groups that often sued the federal government over land policy. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said Pendley is “not just bad, but horrible on public lands. I think you know it, I know it.” “Do not deny — do not deny — the fact that he has been front and center on selling our public lands,” Tester said. Bernhardt defended his decision to hire Pendley. “Since the day he walked into the department, one of his first acts was to add land to BLM, and he will not support large-scale sales of federal land or transfers. He will not under my watch,” he said. Udall also asked Bernhardt to supply information on how many BLM employees have accepted reassignment or left the agency in the wake of a decision to relocate the agency, which the secretary agreed to supply later. The controversial relocation has proceeded despite objections from some lawmakers about its funding and legality, as well as concerns the move is meant to undermine the bureau itself. “It's no secret that I oppose the move, and I still have questions and concerns about whether the move will actually improve the agency's effectiveness, but the reorganization is moving forward and I'm going to do what I can to support the bureau employees during this process,” Udall said...MORE

But look at what they agree on: Trump and the libs want to spend more money to purchase private property and increase the size of the federal estate:

Members of both parties spoke at length about their support for President Trump’s newfound interest in the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The fund uses oil and gas revenue to fund a variety of conservation efforts, such as securing land for parks. But Trump had suggested cutting its funding by as much as 97 percent year after year, including in his most recent budget proposal.
He reversed himself on Tuesday, calling for "a Bill that fully and permanently funds the LWCF and restores our National Parks" in a tweet.

No matter the feds already own more than one out of every four acres in the US.
No matter they have grossly mismanaged federal lands.
No matter they have an $11billion backlog in maintenance costs (i.e., they can't afford what they already have).
None of that matters. Trump is now right there with the libs and enviros supporting more of a bad thing.
They all agree our real problem is that there is too much private property in the US, and they are united in their efforts to solve this problem. Bipartisanship in action!


Paul D. Butler said...

Bad in Wyo also.......

Anonymous said...

The irony of the LWCF support from liberals is their rabid desire to end all offshore oil and gas production and rips platforms out of the sea no matter how much fish habitat the structures provide. No good, they claim, can come from oil and gas. When I remind them about LWCF I get the standard "well, that's different."