, 87 tweets, 106 min read Read on Twitter
LIVE THREAD: We're watching @SecBernhardt testify in front of @NRDems and @NatResources. The @Interior budget is on the agenda, but expect lots of questions about ethics and Bernhardt's vanishing calendars.

Live stream:
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @SecBernhardt's opening statement is underway. Directly behind him are four people in bright green #FundLWCF t-shirts.
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp Opening statements are done, swamp masks are donned. @RepRaulGrijalva starts by asking about Trump's statement that he opposes letting administration officials testify before Congress. Grijalva says he's only gotten partial responses to 2 of 17 requests he's sent to @Interior.
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp @RepRaulGrijalva Grijalva says a "constitutional collision" seems to be inevitable. "Congress will have the duty to defend and enforce its constitutional rights."
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp @RepRaulGrijalva Grijalva: "The committee needs to know what kind of relationship we're going to have with you, as an equal branch of government, from now on." Bernhardt: "I believe the department needs to be responsive." [Here comes the 'but'...]
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp @RepRaulGrijalva Bernhardt: The two branches in government can find a reasonable accommodation that protects the departments interest and protects yours.
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp @RepRaulGrijalva Bernhardt offers to come up with a production schedule for documents that Grijalva is looking for.
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp @RepRaulGrijalva @RepRobBishop asks if DOI is censoring science. Bernhardt: No. "Claims of scientific integrity misconduct are down."
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp @RepRaulGrijalva @RepRobBishop Bernhardt: Science is just one element that goes into a decision. "Some decisions are pure science, some are pure law."
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp @RepRaulGrijalva @RepRobBishop Bernhardt talking up how often Trump calls him. "I feel very confident I can go into his office."
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp @RepRaulGrijalva @RepRobBishop Now @Kilili_Sablan asking about health issues on Northern Mariana Islands. Bernhardt defers to Asst. Secretary Domenech.
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp @RepRaulGrijalva @RepRobBishop @Kilili_Sablan Now @RepDLamborn is up, asking about moving DOI offices out West. (Fact-check: the vast majority of Interior employees are in the field already.) Bernhardt talks about reorg plans — says he's committed to moving some HQs west. Expects reprogramming request "this summer."
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp @RepRaulGrijalva @RepRobBishop @Kilili_Sablan @RepDLamborn Lamborn asks about Interior ethics office, trying to preempt #CultureOfCorruption questions that are undoubtedly coming. Bernhardt: We've hired 42 add'l ethics counselors, are changing reporting structure.
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp @RepRaulGrijalva @RepRobBishop @Kilili_Sablan @RepDLamborn Now @JaredHuffman on #CultureOfCorruption: Are ethics rules about also avoiding the appearance of conflicts? Bernhardt starts citing law, Huffman cuts him off, asks for yes or no.
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp @RepRaulGrijalva @RepRobBishop @Kilili_Sablan @RepDLamborn @JaredHuffman Huffman: You lobbied for Westlands Water District on WIIN Act, cites specific sections. Bernhardt disputes those sections helped Westlands. Huffman: "It was your thumb when you helped write those sections."
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp @RepRaulGrijalva @RepRobBishop @Kilili_Sablan @RepDLamborn @JaredHuffman Huffman: You would argue that lobbying didn't count toward your 2-year recusal? Bernhardt: [starts in on a story] Huffman: I don't have time for this. Did it count? Bernhardt: No, it wasn't a specific matter.
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp @RepRaulGrijalva @RepRobBishop @Kilili_Sablan @RepDLamborn @JaredHuffman Bernhardt: I went to career ethics officials. Huffman: And convinced them it wasn't a particular matter. Do you think that holds up the spirit of ethics rules? Bernhardt: Yes.
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp @RepRaulGrijalva @RepRobBishop @Kilili_Sablan @RepDLamborn @JaredHuffman Huffman moves on to IPAA, which boasted about their special access to Bernhardt on secret recording. (revealnews.org/article/oil-ex…) Bernhardt says he hasn't had any conversations with IPAA head Dan Naatz — but doesn't say how many IPAA execs he has talked to.
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp @RepRaulGrijalva @RepRobBishop @Kilili_Sablan @RepDLamborn @JaredHuffman @RepMcClintock asks about wildfire risks, what Bernhardt needs. Bernhardt says he wants categorical exclusions — doesn't mention how drilling is accelerating climate change.
@SecBernhardt @NRDems @NatResources @Interior @DOISwamp @RepRaulGrijalva @RepRobBishop @Kilili_Sablan @RepDLamborn @JaredHuffman @RepMcClintock Now @RepLowenthal asks about mining leases at Boundary Waters, owned by Javanka's landlord. Asked for specific filenames, but Bernhardt still hasn't provided them. Will you give us these 2 docs by the end of the week?
Bernhardt: I'm not familiar with those documents. I'll go look at them and might or might not. You can come look at them.
Lowenthal: We got thousands files, as of 5pm Friday, 19% duplicates, vast majority were already public. Lots of redactions, but phone numbers left unredacted. Several pages of "gibberish" code.
Lowenthal: The briefing memo is entirely redacted??
Bernhardt: If there's a particular document you think was overredacted, let's have a conversation.
Lowenthal: Why are you citing FOIA redactions when giving congress documents? Congress isn't subject to FOIA restrictions.
@RepWesterman, after bizarre digression into old Wendy's ads, rambles into something about wildfires. Wants more logging.
@RepWesterman Bernhardt: Zinke issued a bunch of secretarial orders on wildfire. We want more categorical exclusions, have suggestions for Congress.
@RepWesterman Bernhardt makes some news, says an announcement on Twin Metals/Boundary Waters coming within the hour.
@RepWesterman @RubenGallego on Trump derailing bipartisan tribal lands bills with a tweet. Bernhardt says he's not familiar with the bill. Did Trump consult with you before tweeting? Bernhardt: Not with me.
@RepWesterman @RubenGallego Bernhardt says he doesn't know if Trump consulted with any tribes or tribal orgs before tweeting. Bernhardt: President doesn't need to consult with me before tweeting.
@RepWesterman @RubenGallego Gallego: Who's Matt Schlapp of Koch Strategies? Bernhardt: I know who he is. (Casino lobbyist who opposes the tribal casino in Massachusetts.)
@RepWesterman @RubenGallego Gallego: Trump didn't consult with you or any tribal groups before tweeting, but was lobbied by Schlapp before derailing legislation. Bernhardt: I don't think that's necessarily true.
@RepWesterman @RubenGallego @RepTjCox asks about #LWCF reauthorization. We were all concerned when your budget tried to reduce LWCF by 95%. Your role is to "effectuate the president's vision" which is the elimination of this fund. Why did you propose cutting LWCF?
Bernhardt: President proposes, Congress disposes. We're thrilled you made #LWCF permanent. Gives me a chance in next budget to push harder internally for it.
Bernhardt: President's not going to say "if you appropriate it, we won't spend it."
Cox: How is Interior incorporating climate change into water planning? Bernhardt: Largest uncertainty in climate conditions is GHG going forward. Need to look at all models.
Bernhardt makes more news, says he'll be issuing order allowing recreational fee dollars to be used on permanent employees. (This is what he got in trouble for doing during the shutdown.)
@JoeNeguse is up: How Interior's proposed budget decimates @NatlParkService, endangered species act, science support programs, vs increases in coal management and oil and gas permitting.
@JoeNeguse @NatlParkService Neguse asks about @dr_caffrey's NPS climate report getting censored. Neguse asks about @doioig investigation getting closed with "no harm/no foul" finding because Interior was shamed into publishing, and Caffrey's contract not getting renewed.
@JoeNeguse @NatlParkService @Dr_Caffrey @doioig Bernhardt says he'll look into it.
@JoeNeguse @NatlParkService @Dr_Caffrey @doioig @MikeLevinCA is up. Asks about Bernhardt saying the law doesn't require him to address climate change. Levin points out numerous judges have said otherwise. Yes/no: Does FLPMA require you to take "into account long-term needs of future generations?"
Bernhardt: That's in the act.
Levin quotes from Organic Act, Secure Water Act, more, noting numerous laws that require Interior to preserve land/water for future generations.
Bernhardt: You haven't given me direction to stop any particular activity. Levin: What kind of direction do you want? Bernhardt: Whatever you want, go for it.
[That entire exchange with Levin is worth revisiting later. It flew by quickly, but he had Bernhardt nailed, and he knew it.]
@RepDebHaaland: The reorg was a clear beach of Interior's responsibility to consult with tribes.
@RepDebHaaland Haaland quotes from Interior's definition of tribal consultation, Bernhardt says it's merely "a definition."
@RepDebHaaland Haaland: Reorg impacts tribal governments, but they don't have a voice to reshape the policy. No tribal leader I've talked to understands what DOI is doing.
@RepDebHaaland Haaland quotes from Trump tweet using a slur to describe Elizabeth Warren. What's your duty when your boss seeks to alienate tribes and discount our history, makes a mockery of mass graves?
@RepDebHaaland Bernhardt gets very, very quiet: I have spent years working on issues with Indian Country. I will carry out my duties faithfully.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar is up, first apologizes to Bernhardt for his having to answer questions about ethics, climate change, and tribal respect. Seriously.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar Also, the swamp creatures behind Bernhardt haven't blinked once this entire hearing. It's unnerving.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar Now @gracenapolitano: Why does Trump budget cut Title 16 water reclamation funding? Bernhardt: Tough choices.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman is back up, asks about direction he's given on CA water issues. Asks about unusual accounting on studies to benefit Westlands. GAO now investigating. Will you commit to cooperating with investigation? Bernhardt: Long pause. I'll check with ethics.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman Huffman gets to Bernhardt's calendars: Will you assure American people you're not doing the bidding of your clients. Give us an example where you've said no to a client because it's not in the public interest.

Bernhardt: My former clients aren't meeting with me.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman Bernhardt: We've said no specifically to requests from energy, water allocations. Huffman asks for specific policy requests. Bernhardt: That's inflammatory and wrong. Points to well control rule.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman Bernhardt: You can request my briefing book, meeting requests.

Fact check: We have. Interior has not filled any FOIA requests for his meeting request forms. None at all.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman Now @NydiaVelazquez asking about Bernhardt intervening on pesticide safety opinions. Were you aware of industry opposition to release of the opinion? Bernhardt: That didn't factor into my decision.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez Velazquez: Did you discuss with White House? Bernhardt: I don't recall. Velazquez: Will you release draft opinion? Bernhardt: We'll work with the committee. Deliberative documents.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez Velazquez asks about lifting ban on neonicotinoids on wildlife refuges. Bernhardt: We've provided 66k pages. Velazquez: We've seen the kinds of duplicates and useless documents you provide.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez Velazquez says she'll introduce bill to reinstate neonic pesticide ban in wildlife refuges.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @repcunningham pushing Bernhardt on offshore drilling: There's no legal impediment stopping you from developing a leasing plan? Bernhardt agrees. There is disagreement over scope of that plan, what it could contain.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham Bernhardt on offshore: DOJ is likely to challenge court rulings.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham Cunningham points out that as DOI Solicitor, Bernhardt put out plan for offshore drilling in violation of the law at the time.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham Cunningham: People of South Carolina won't be fooled by delaying offshore drilling until after 2020. I've got a bill to stop it.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright pushes Bernhardt for a 1-10 number of how concerned he is over CO2 hitting 415 ppm. Bernhardt: "I haven't lost any sleep over it."
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright Cartwright: Despite decreasing demand for coal, you're requesting 66% increase for coal leasing. Why are you spending more money on a resource for which demand is declining?
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright @RepDarrenSoto: Will admin consider bipartisan opposition to offshore drilling? Bernhardt: State input is important component of any final plan.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright @RepDarrenSoto @RepHorsford is up. Points out Bernhardt's budget proposed cutting national park staff. Bernhardt blames NPS for not sufficiently planning for increased centennial visitation.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright @RepDarrenSoto @RepHorsford @RepDianaDeGette: Laws require Interior to take climate into account, correct? Bernhardt volunteers NEPA as an example of that.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright @RepDarrenSoto @RepHorsford @RepDianaDeGette DeGette: Given that, why do you need direction from congress? Bernhardt: If you have a view that says don't develop energy on federal lands, codify that.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright @RepDarrenSoto @RepHorsford @RepDianaDeGette DeGette asks about methane rule. When methane is released, it's a more powerful pollutant than CO2 in short run? Bernhardt: I've heard that. I don't dispute it.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright @RepDarrenSoto @RepHorsford @RepDianaDeGette Bernhardt says Colorado is a leader in reducing methane emissions. DeGette: Are state regulations as strong as BLM rule? Bernhardt? I don't know. (Fact check: They're not.)
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright @RepDarrenSoto @RepHorsford @RepDianaDeGette DeGette: is 1 billion cubic feet per day a lot? Bernhardt first says he doesn't know, then agrees it is. Would taxing that lost methane have a financial impact? Bernhardt agrees it would.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright @RepDarrenSoto @RepHorsford @RepDianaDeGette Huffman: During shutdown, work on renewables stopped, but you brought back oil and gas permitting workers. Isn't that a double standard? Bernhardt: We also directed folks to report on renewable projects. One solar project he's aware of.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright @RepDarrenSoto @RepHorsford @RepDianaDeGette Bernhardt: The $$ for bringing people to work on wind was low, so BOEM didn't bring those people back.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright @RepDarrenSoto @RepHorsford @RepDianaDeGette Huffman back to well control rule: "That wasn't telling industry 'no'." Bernhardt disputes that, despite effusive praise from industry when he rolled back the safety rules.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright @RepDarrenSoto @RepHorsford @RepDianaDeGette Huffman: "You didn't give them everything they wanted, but you saved them over $980 million over ten years."
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright @RepDarrenSoto @RepHorsford @RepDianaDeGette Huffman gives Bernhardt the rest of his time to come up with more examples of him pushing back on his former clients. Bernhardt says $980m in industry savings "is an unfair characterization" of the well control rule changes.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright @RepDarrenSoto @RepHorsford @RepDianaDeGette Huffman goes back to Bernhardt "not losing sleep" over 415 ppm CO2. Bernhardt: I absolutely care our climate is changing, and believe we need to factor that into our thinking.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright @RepDarrenSoto @RepHorsford @RepDianaDeGette @RepLowenthal learns Bernhardt has renewed Twin Metals leases by Boundary Waters. New 10-year timeframe for coming up with a plan, or lease is terminated. But Jorjani said Obama had no right to cancel leases after 50 yrs, so why do you now have the right to cancel after 10 yrs?
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright @RepDarrenSoto @RepHorsford @RepDianaDeGette @RepLowenthal Bernhardt doesn't answer question, says new leases have diligence provisions. Can't sit on it and do nothing.
@RepDebHaaland @RepGosar @gracenapolitano @RepHuffman @NydiaVelazquez @RepCunningham @RepCartwright @RepDarrenSoto @RepHorsford @RepDianaDeGette @RepLowenthal Lowenthal: You stand by Jorjani's earlier decision? Bernhardt: You'll find this is legal as well.
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