Trump's interior chief 'violated ethics pledge' by cutting animal protections
Several years before becoming acting US interior secretary, David Bernhardt was a lobbyist for one of California’s largest water districts, where he sought to win more water for farmers, even if it came at the expense of imperiled fish that also needed it.
Despite joining the interior department in 2017, a new complaint alleges, he has continued to pursue policies that favor his old clients. According to the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center, he has taken steps to weaken protections for endangered fish, such as the diminutive delta smelt, in California and make more irrigation water available for prominent agricultural interests in the state. “It is difficult to discern where Mr. Bernhardt’s private-sector lobbying activities end and where his public service begins,” the CLC writes in its complaint.