The Dallas Morning News

Acting Interior chief confirmed as secretary

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WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday confirmed acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to lead the department on a permanent basis, despite complaints by Democrats that the former oil and gas lobbyist has used his federal position to benefit former industry clients.

Senators voted 5641 to approve Bernhardt’s nomination to oversee more than 500 million acres of public lands and other resources, including national parks, monuments and wildlife refuges. He succeeds Ryan Zinke, who resigned in January amid a series of ethics investigat­ions.

Bernhardt represente­d energy and agricultur­al interests until President Donald Trump picked him in April 2017 to be deputy secretary.

Bernhardt, who was confirmed to the No. 2 position in July 2017, says he has complied with all ethics laws and rules. But Democrats and environmen­tal groups accuse him of using his federal post to shape regulation­s and legislatio­n in favor of oil and gas interests and other former clients.

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