Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a business meeting to consider the nomination of David Bernhardt to be Secretary of the Interior, Susan Combs to be Assistant Secretary of the Interior (Policy, Management and Budget) and Aimee Kathryn Jorjani to be Chair of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Mr. Bernhardt was approved by a vote of 14-6. Ms. Combs and Ms. Jorjani were both approved. Senators Wyden and Hirono were recorded “no” on Ms. Combs. Ranking Member Manchin released the following statement on his vote to confirm Mr. Bernhardt to be Secretary of the Interior.
“As a former Governor, I have always understood the importance of an executive being able to assemble a team of people they trust. During his confirmation hearing and during my time with Mr. Bernhardt, we discussed the importance of taking climate science seriously, the concerns my colleagues and I have about offshore drilling, and the urgent need to reauthorize the Abandoned Mine Land Fund. He has committed to working with me and my colleagues to address these concerns and I intend to ensure he keeps his word. Additionally, as Ranking Member of the Committee, I will work closely with Chairman Murkowski and my colleagues to ensure Mr. Bernhardt commits to the highest standards of ethics, not just in the letter of the law but truly the spirit of the law. In light of the vast jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior it is not just about compliance with the law and the ethics regulation, it is about a culture of impartiality, fairness and scientific integrity. After reviewing Mr. Bernhardt’s qualifications, listening to his testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and meeting with him on three occasions, I voted to confirm him to be the Secretary of the Interior.”