April 11, 2019

Cardin Statement on Bernhardt Confirmation as Interior Secretary

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement on the confirmation of David Bernhardt as the Secretary of the Interior.

“I opposed the Bernhardt nomination because I oppose all drilling off the Atlantic Coast. The Atlantic coast contains some of the most pristine coastlines in America and our region is very much aware of how fragile the Chesapeake Bay is and what would be in jeopardy from an oil spill off the coast. Unfortunately, it is clear that Secretary Bernhardt will continue down the dangerous path set out by his predecessor to needlessly open up the Atlantic and other sensitive habitats to such activity in furtherance of President Trump’s so-called ‘energy dominance’ order.  I could not support a nominee that puts corporate interests above the public interest.”

Prior to Mr. Bernhardt’s confirmation hearing, Senator Cardin and his colleagues wrote to him demanding answers on his approach to the five-year National Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Proposed Program for 2019-2024. The senators noted bipartisan requests to remove the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and Gulf of Mexico.

Senator Cardin helped lead successful efforts in 2015 to convince the Obama Administration to withdraw from plans to drill for oil and natural gas off the Atlantic Coast. He also fought to have President Obama use his authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) to protect the Atlantic Coast permanently from the threats of oil and gas drilling.

As a longtime cosponsor of the Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism (COAST) Anti-Drilling Act to ban offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, Senator Cardin looks forward to supporting the bill when it is reintroduced for this Congress.