David Bernhardt Photographs

David Bernhardt was picked to replace Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Department of the Interior in January of 2019. Prior to joining the Department, Bernhardt was a lobbyist for oil, gas, and mining interests. Ethics rules prohibit him from meeting with a long list of former clients. Here are a series of photos of David Bernhardt in action:

David Bernhardt spoke at the National Mining Association’s meeting at the Trump Hotel in October of 2017. An agenda from the meeting lists him as a speaker. Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, and Schreck, Bernhardt’s lobbying firm, and Hudbay Minerals, a mining company and former client of Bernhardt’s, are members of the Association.

David Bernhardt leaving a meeting of the National Mining Association at the Trump Hotel in Washington, DC in October of 2017.

The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) is a lobbying and trade group representing the offshore oil and gas industry. NOIA is a former client of David Bernhardt, and is listed on his ethics recusals documents. These photographs come from a report issued by NOIA in November of 2013.

David Bernhardt at a 2013 meeting of the National Ocean Industries Association.

 

David Bernhardt at a meeting of the National Ocean Industries Association in 2013.

FOIA Documents Show EPA Air and Radiation Head Continued Meeting With Industry He Once Represented

Bill Wehrum, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation and a former industry lawyer, continued to meet with fossil fuel interests regulated by the agency, according to five months of scheduling records from 2018 obtained by Documented.

While the EPA makes some calendars for senior staff publicly available, including Wehrum’s schedule, the records obtained provide more detailed information on the meetings, highlighting attendees and meeting topics.

The calendar entries obtained by Documented can be viewed here. Below are some highlights from the July through November records:

    • Wehrum gave a speech to the National Mining Association, a trade association that represents coal companies including Murray Energy, Peabody Energy, Arch Coal Corporation, Cloud Peak Energy, Inc., as well as his old law firm Hunton and Williams. He also met with Usibelli Coal Mine and two front groups for the coal industry, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and Lignite Energy Council. Last August, Wehrum’s department attempted to ease coal pollution regulations with a proposed replacement of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan. His schedule also details a meeting with utility company Xcel energy regarding the rule replacement.
    • Wehrum met with Fitzgerald Trucks, the largest glider truck manufacturer in the United States, regarding glider kits. The company was handed a major win on Pruitt’s last day as EPA administrator when EPA granted a loophole to allow more pollution from glider trucks. The records also include a meeting with the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA).

    • In September 2018, Wehrum met with energy lobbyist Mike McKenna of MWR Strategies and Bob Meyers of Crowell & Moring LLP about “permitting a power plant up in New York State.” The entry does not detail the client who sought the permit, however, McKenna filed a federal lobbying disclosure form outlining “energy issues” with the EPA for Competitive Power Ventures, which announced commercial operation at its Wawayanda, NY power plant in October 2018.

 



Oil Lobby Targeted Republican Governors in Support for Roll Back in Fuel Standards, Emails Show

Last month, the New York Times published an in-depth investigation detailing the oil industry’s efforts to build support for the Trump Administration’s proposed rule that would roll back Obama-era corporate average fuel economy standards (CAFE) aimed at curbing climate change.

New emails obtained by Documented reveal similar efforts by the oil refinery lobbying group, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), which represents numerous fossil fuel corporations including ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, Chevron and Marathon Petroleum.

The emails are cited in a new report from DeSmogBlog,  outlining AFPM and other fossil fuel funded groups’ campaign to roll  back Obama-era fuel standards.

Below are some highlights from the emails obtained by Documented:

  • An Internal memo prepared for Wyoming Governor Matt Mead in advance of his meeting with AFPM client Holland & Hartstated AFPM had “been shopping around op-ed” supporting the changes to the CAFE rule. The language in op-ed, according to DeSmogBlog, similarly reflects language found in a letter from another fossil fuel funded group, the American Energy Alliance.
  • AFPM sent identical email messages to at least two Republican Governor offices, urging them to sign a letter that supported the proposed rule. AFPM noted in the emails that the Republican Governors Association (RGA) had circulated the letter as well. Documented has previously reported that RGA is funded by the fossil fuel industry. According to IRS fillings reviewed by Documented, RGA accepted more than $200,000 from AFPM during the 2018 election cycle.

  • Governors from Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota and Oklahoma signed the letter, which was published in the Federal Register as comments under the rule.

  • Wes Hambrick from the Texas Governor’s office circulated AFPM talking points about the proposed rule. The email was sent to Michael Lucci from the Illinois Governor’s office.  The talking points touted the benefits of the rule and criticized the Obama-era fuel efficiency targets.

 



 

LOUISIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL LANDRY TO HOLD FUNDRAISER AT TRUMP D.C. HOTEL WITH VP PENCE AS SPECIAL GUEST

Jeff Landry, the Louisiana Attorney General, and a prominent supporter of President Trump’s southern border wall strategy, is to hold a D.C. fundraiser at the Trump International Hotel on January 30th, according to a copy of the event invitation obtained by Documented.

According to the invitation, Vice President Mike Pence is to be a special guest at the event.

During an interview with Breitbart this week, Landry defended Trump’s position on the border wall, and attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for what he said was her “hypocrisy” around the wall. “She has a front door on her house. She has a fence around her house. She has security measures around her house. She has a door to her congressional office”, said Landry.

This is at least the second year that Landry has held a fundraiser at Trump’s D.C. hotel. The 2018 event was also revealed by Documented.

Photo of Mike Pence by Gage Skidmore used under Creative Commons License.

Fact-Checking ALEC: Where Do Its “Model” Bills Come From?

Last fall, Marathon Petroleum lobbyist Stephen Higley teamed up with climate change denier Myron Ebell on a “model” resolution for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) praising President Trump’s “energy and environmental policy accomplishments.”

The purpose of “model” resolutions in ALEC is for legislators to introduce them in statehouses across the country to declare the official policy or position of a state. This particular resolution can be cited by President Trump to demonstrate support for his fossil-fuel friendly agenda–despite the catastrophic consequences to our environment and concerns that have been raised on behalf of millions of people.

Legislators and corporations voted in favor of the Marathon Petroleum/Ebell resolution during ALEC’s “States and Nation Policy Summit” in Washington, D.C., last November.

“Here’s a clean version of the model resolution. Myron, can you please forward in a clean email to Grant and cc Andy?” Higley asked in an email obtained by Documented to Ebell as well as to American Fuel & Petrochemical Association lobbyist John Eick (a former ALEC staffer), American Energy Alliance President Tom Pyle and Ohio State Rep. Andy Thompson (R-Marietta). Ebell and Pyle both led agency transition teams for Trump.

Ten minutes later, Ebell sent off the “model” resolution to ALEC in an email, stating “Rep. Andy Thompson has agreed to be the legislative sponsor.”

Rep. Thompson “agreed” to be the legislative sponsor to another ALEC model resolution adopted at the same meeting, which was aimed at opposing tax incentives for electric vehicles.

“Attached is a resolution for consideration supporting equal tax treatment for all vehicles. Representative Thompson has kindly agreed to be the public sector sponsor (at least for now),” Pyle stated in another email obtained by Documented to ALEC. The correspondence is consistent with an E&E News article that reported Pyle was behind a previous version of the draft resolution, which had not been adopted by ALEC.

These resolutions are just two of several recent measures initiated by ALEC’s private sector members, which contradicts claims made recently by ALEC staffer Shelby Emmett on WAMU where she asserted that the private sector does not have too much influence in part because, she said, public sector members introduce “model” legislation themselves.

“So within our organization, internally within our procedures, it’s the public sector members that introduce the legislation.” Emmett stated. She went on to stress the point again less than a minute later in the interview. “But within the organization, yes, private and public sectors come together, but it’s the public sector members that actually introduce the policy.”

Listen to the full interview here, where Documented co-director Lisa Graves informs listeners of ALEC’s damage to public policy and that many ALEC bills originate from corporate lobbyists, contrary to ALEC’s public relations’ spin.

The email correspondence between Marathon Petroleum and ALEC was obtained by Documented via an open records request to the Ohio House of Representatives. It can be viewed here:

 

The email correspondence between the American Energy Alliance and ALEC was obtained by Documented via an open records request to the Ohio House of Representatives. It can be viewed here:

 

Photograph by Joe Brusky. Used under creative commons license.