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tv   U.S. Senate Sen. Manchin Supports David Berndhart Interior Sec. Nomination  CSPAN  April 11, 2019 5:27pm-5:37pm EDT

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mr. president, mr. bernhardt is very well qualified to be the secretary of the interior. he has the right background, the right experience, and the right perspective for the job. he's ready to lead on a permanent basis. i'm glad that very shortly here we're going to be considering his nomination, and i would strongly encourage every member of this chamber to support his confirmation. i have an additional statement that i would ask unanimous consent be included as part of the record that goes into more detail from those who have written in to support the nomination of david bernhardt, organizations like the american council of snowmobile associations, the off road business association, county commissioners from around the country, representatives from the alaska federation of native as well as various tribes. and i would ask that that be
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incorporated as part -- >> without objection. >> i rise today to speak on the nomination of mr. david bernhardt to be the secretary of interior. the committee on energy natural resources voted to report david bernhardt's nomination to be the secretary of the interior last week by a vote of 14 to 6. members on both sides held and continue to hold strong feelings on mr. bernhardt's nomination. both sides have scrutinized his record carefully as we should, considering the enormous responsibility and trust to the secretary of interior. whether it be payments for healthcare benefits, processing permits for the privilege of energy production on federal lands or ensuring the u.s. geological survey can conduct its critical work of collecting and analyzing data, on our changing climate, the department of interior has a huge amount of responsibility and diverse jurisdiction. further more, the secretary of interior is the guardian of our nation's greatest natural resources. the department of the interior manages nearly half a billion
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acres of federal land or about 20% of the nation's land. one of every five acres in the united states is under their control. these lands include some of our most special places, our national parks, trails, seashores and historic sites. in addition, the department manages another 1.7 billion acres of submerged lands on the outcontinental shelf. -- outer continental shelf. largest supplier of water in the 17 western states, manages nearly 500 dams and over 300 reservoirs that supply water to over 31 million people and irrigates 10 million acres of farmland. furthermore, nearly 20% of the energy we use in produce is produced on lands managed by the secretary. these include not just coal and oil and natural gas, but also hydropower and geothermal, solar and wind energy. in addition, the secretary of interior manages our trust obligations to nearly 600 federally recognized indian tribes and provides services to
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nearly 2 million native americans. by any measure, the job of secretary of interior is enormous and special responsibility. as a former governor, i have always believed that an executive is entitled to deference when selecting his or her team as long as the candidates are qualified and ethical. i have carefully reviewed mr. bernhardt's experience and his qualifications. i met with him twice before his hearing and spoke with him again by phone afterwards. i question him extensively about his willingness to be a good steward of our nation's greatest natural resources, our national parks, monuments and historical sites. i question him about his responsibility to balance our resources needs with environmental protection and fair tonds the owners of -- fairness to the owners of our public lands, all of us, the american people. i spoke to him about the need to make sure that those who are granted the privilege of using our public lands leaves them in better condition than they found them. based on my discussion with him,
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and my review of his record, i believe mr. bernhardt is clearly qualified to serve as secretary. he held senior positions in the department for eight years, during the bush administration including over two years as a solicitor. the third highest office in the department. he has served as a deputy secretary for the past two years and as acting secretary since january. he knows the interior department inside and out, and he is well versed on all the issues that come before it. he clearly has the knowledge and experience to serve as secretary. now, the opposition to mr. bernhardt's nomination comes not from any lack of knowledge or experience, but from questions about appearances of conflicts of interest arising from the law practices prior to being confirmed as deputy secretary. i had extensive conversations with mr. bernhardt about these potential conflicts of interest, and his compliance with ethics law and regulations. i reminded him he takes the same oath i take, public service, not
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self-service. we also spoke about the importance of ensuring a culture that the department of interior that reflects the highest level of ethical compliance and integrity. based on my extensive discussion with mr. bernhardt, and the assurances he gave me, i voted for him in the committee on energy and natural resources, committee last week and i will support his nomination when we vote on the floor to confirm him. but i said before the vote, in the energy and natural resources committee, and i will say it again, i expect him and the department to hold itself to the highest ethical standards because i assured him i will. mr. bernhardt must work to ensure the committee to ethical and scientific integrity, and i intend to work with him and his staff persistently to ensure this is the case. our parks and public lands, our scenic beauty, our fish and wildlife resources are important to everybody, and especially to the people of west virginia, which i represent. and to the people of all of our
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states and to the nation's outdoor recreation economy. west virginians count on the secretary of interior as the guardian of our public lands as i know you do mr. president in louisiana. the committee on natural resources which i'm privileged to serve as ranking member has a lot of work to do. we have to address the department maintenance backlog, pay the royalties that they owe the taxpayers and nothing less. to see that our public lands and resources are wisely managed and protected. i intend to work with mr. bernhardt on these issues, i have made it clear to him that i expect him to put his extensive experience and knowledge for these issues to work for all the american people and to execute his responsibilities in a manner that ensures that our public lands are not just being maintained, but improved for the benefit of generations to come. for that reason, i will vote to
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confirm him to this important position. i would ask your consideration for the same. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. >> that wraps up the senate's work. lawmakers today confirmed david bernhardt to become the next interior secretary, replacing ryan zinke who resigned in january. mr. bernhardt has been serving as acting secretary since then. prior to the vote, a number of senators spoke about the nomination. first we will show you communities from massachusetts democrat ed markey who opposed mr. bernhardt, followed by alaska republican lisa murkowski and west virginia democrat joe manchin, both of whom supported the nominee. c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up friday morning, a discussion of the two main elements of the mueller report, collusion and obstruction of justice, with two former federal
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prosecutors. then florida republican congressman john rutherford joins us to talk about border security and news of the day. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal live at 7:00 eastern friday morning. join the discussion. >> book tv has live weekend coverage of the los angeles times festival of books, from the campus of the university of southern california, starting saturday at 1:30 eastern, featuring author of "guns down" at 2:30. at 4:00, the author of the book "not that bad" and 5:30, the author of "dope sick" and 7:00 the author of "shoot for the moon". our live coverage continues sunday at 1:30 p.m. eastern featuring former homeland security secretary janet napolitano, discussing her book "how safe are we?"
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at 4:00 actor justine bateman with "fame". also at 5:30, the author of the book white. and at 7:00 larry elder author of double standards. be sure to watch our live weekend coverage of the los angeles times festival of books, starting at 1:30 p.m. eastern saturday and sunday, on book tv on c-span 2. :: >> thank you very much. it's a great honor to have president moon of south korea with

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