Interior Secretary David Bernhardt completed his rise to the top as manager of federal lands with a swearing–in ceremony at the White House Tuesday.
Bernhardt is the seventh Interior Secretary to come from Colorado and takes over the office from former Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke, who resigned at the beginning of the year.
Bernhardt was joined in the Roosevelt Room of the White House by President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and his family.
He was confirmed by the Senate earlier this month. Montana’s Senators were split by party lines on his confirmation: Republican Steve Daines voted in favor, while Democrat Jon Tester said no.
Critics have expressed concern his work as a lobbyist for energy firms is a conflict of interest while serving as chief regulator of public lands. Six high-level agency members are being investigated for ethics rules violations.
His predecessor, Zinke, served less than two years as Interior Secretary. Zinke recently took a job with U.S Gold Corporation as a consultant and member of the board of directors.
Reporting by Jon Stepanek for MTN News