WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Lawmakers grilled the secretary of the interior on Wednesday about the Trump administration’s ongoing actions to cut environmental policies.
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt fended off attacks from all sides.
Democrats like Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) accused the administration of rolling back 50 years’ worth of bedrock environmental laws.
“Decimated Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante — ignoring the voices of native communities,” said Udall.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) attacked proposed changes to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
“Would make it impossible for us to have collected the $100 million in damages from the Deep Water Horizon spill,” said Hollen.
Even Republican Sen. Marco Rubio — who is normally a supporter of offshore drilling — argued against oil drilling off the coast of his state, Florida.
“We have a very important military testing and training complex, the Joint Gulf Range Complex, out in the Gulf,” he said.
Bernhardt defended the administration’s policies, saying “the president’s vision is moving us forward, not backward.”
President Trump initially called for a 97% cut to the Land and Water Conservation Fund but seems to have changed his mind. In a tweet, he said he wants to fully and permanently fund it.
Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander praised his Trump’s decision and his support for the Restore Our Parks Act.
“It will surely be the most important conservation legislation of the last half-century,” Alexander said.
The plan would pay for long-delayed maintenance and repair of trails, roads and buildings at national parks.