US Senate confirms David Bernhardt as Interior Secretary

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt

Washington,  The US Senate has confirmed acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to formally lead the department.

The Republican-controlled upper chamber approved Bernhardt’s nomination in a 56-41 vote, with support from several Democrats who crossed party lines on Thursday, Xinhua reported.

Bernhardt, 49, was nominated by US President Donald Trump in February to replace Ryan Zinke, who resigned late last year amid ethics investigations.

A former oil lobbyist, Bernhardt is expected to continue implementing the administration’s goal of boosting domestic fossil fuels production, by opening more US public lands to drilling and mining.

With more than 70,000 employees, the Department of the Interior is responsible for the management and conservation of most federal lands and natural resources. It also oversees the development of conventional and renewable energy supplies on public lands and waters.