NWGAA Letter Regarding David Bernhardt June 5, 2017

June 5, 2017

The Honorable Lisa Murkowski
U.S. Senate
SH-522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Maria Cantwell
U.S. Senate
SH-511 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Cantwell,

As an organization representing thousands of recreational fishermen and businesses that support this activity, we write with deep concerns about the nomination of David Bernhardt for Deputy Secretary of the Department of Interior.

We fear that Mr. Bernhardt does not have a balanced perspective when it comes to matters regarding water and fisheries resources. His past work on behalf of clients who disregard the impacts of their projects on salmon and stream flows raises concerns that he will prioritize the interests of developers over sustaining our nation’s natural resources.

Further, Mr. Bernhardt’s role in suppressing scientific data during his time at Interior in the George W. Bush Administration raises further red flags about his lack of respect for the role of science in decision-making on issues affecting sportsmen and wildlife habitat. During his confirmation hearing in May, Mr. Bernhardt failed to acknowledge the scientific consensus that climate change is real and will have a devastating impact on our planet if not addressed, and stated that the science was secondary to the political position of President Trump, Secretary Zinke and the Administration. This disregard for scientific facts aligns with Mr. Bernhardt’s troubling history of putting politics above science to the detriment of wildlife habitat.

We therefore encourage you and your colleagues in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to vote NO on his nomination, unless he recuses himself from all decision- making affecting water resources and fisheries.

Senator Murkowski and Senator Cantwell, thank you for recognizing the value of healthy waters and fisheries to the outdoor economy. We are not convinced that Mr. Bernhardt has reached that same conclusion.


Grant Putnam
NW Guides and Anglers Association

Cc: Relevant Department of Interior staff