by Karen Mehall Phillips - Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Monday was a good day for American sportsmen and the wildlife conservation community as President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Acting Secretary David Bernardt to the role of Secretary of The U.S. Department of The Interior (DOI). If confirmed, Bernhardt will succeed Ryan Zinke, whom he served under as deputy director prior to Zinke leaving office on Dec. 31, at which time Bernhardt was named the department’s acting director.
“We agree, @realDonaldTrump!” tweeted NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox immediately upon hearing the news. “On behalf of the five million men and women of the @NRA, we strongly support the nomination of David Bernhardt as Secretary of The Interior. Bernhardt's commitment to conserving America's wildlife resources is rooted in his own experience as an outdoorsman.”
A lifelong hunter and angler, Bernhardt has worked to manage our nation’s fish and wildlife resources on both the state and federal levels. He has continued following through with Zinke’s numerous secretarial orders—regularly highlighted on this website—aimed at promoting sportsmen’s access to public lands and to protecting wildlife. Just one example includes Secretarial Order (SO) No. 3362 enhancing Western big game habitat, winter ranges and migration corridors, a critical step in ensuring collaboration between the DOI’s federal agencies, state fish and wildlife agencies and volunteer private landowners to identify and improve these critical habitats across the Western United States.
NRA’s Chris Cox worked with Bernhardt particularly closely over the past year as a member of Zinke’s Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council (HSSCC). The federal advisory council is charged with providing recommendations to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to benefit wildlife, public partnerships and hunting and shooting sports to ensure the wildlife conservation benefits of these practices carry on into the future. (Other noted council members include Ward “Trig” French, who with NRA 1st Vice President Richard Childress, serves as the national co-chair of the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum.) The committee’s establishment allows the collective hunting and shooting sports community to communicate with the public that sustainable, regulated hunting is not just a mainstream American tradition: It is a critical wildlife management and conservation tool.
There is no wonder the NRA and those who have worked with Bernhardt applaud President Trump’s choice for DOI Secretary. Please stay tuned to NRAHLF.org for updates as the confirmation process begins.
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