Bernhardt? Or Swamp Monster? Video to Run Tuesday Outside Interior Department Showing That the Distinction Is Difficult to Make

Truck With Video Loop Will Park Outside Public Forum on NEPA to Highlight Industry Takeover of the Interior Department

WHAT: A truck with a giant TV screen will park outside the U.S. Department of the Interior for eight hours on Tuesday, running a looping video for passersby and Interior Department employees and visitors.

The video, accompanied by spooky music, will show that it’s difficult to distinguish between Interior Secretary David Bernhardt – a former oil and gas lobbyist – and a creature of the Washington, D.C., “swamp” of lobbyists and corporate cronies that President Donald Trump derided as a candidate but now embraces wholeheartedly.

While the video runs, the Trump administration will host a public hearing on Trump’s proposal to gut the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by dramatically scaling back environmental review requirements for dirty energy plants, oil wells and pipelines. Doing so would let fossil fuel corporations off the hook for pollution and damage to the climate, as well as benefit Bernhardt’s former clients.

Bernhardt, who was deputy secretary then acting secretary of the department before being confirmed as secretary in April 2019, is perhaps best known for carrying an index card listing all the corporations he lobbied for before going to the department. The list was so extensive that he needed a handy reference. An activist dressed as a swamp monster attended Bernhardt’s confirmation hearing, sitting several rows behind Bernhardt, to reinforce his industry connections.

Public Citizen staffers will hand out fliers to passersby emphasizing the dangers of an oil and gas industry lobbyist being charged with protecting public lands. (Spoiler alert: Public lands don’t do so well.)

WHERE: U.S. Department of the Interior

1849 C Street NW, Washington, D.C.

*The truck will be set up on C Street NW between 18th and 19th Streets NW

WHEN: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 25