RELEASE: Trump’s Pick to Run Interior Looms Large Behind Ocean Sell-Off, CAP Analysis Finds

Washington, D.C. — The Trump administration is allowing the oil and gas industry to purchase drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico at fire-sale prices—often to the benefit of former clients of Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, according to a new column from the Center for American Progress.

The column shows how the oil and gas industry has been able to take advantage of the Trump administration’s Gulfwide sales to buy up ocean resources for below fair market value through single, uncontested bids. During Tuesday’s lease sale, for example, only 22 of the 227 parcels sold had more than one bidder, meaning that 90 percent of sales were noncompetitive.

By continuing to flood the market, despite low industry interest, the administration is reducing competition among bidders and lowering returns for American taxpayers. And companies that Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt used to work for or represent are winning leases in the Trump administration’s Gulfwide sales.

Bernhardt’s lack of transparency in his dealings at the Department of the Interior (DOI), and the fact that his past clients appear to be reaping the rewards of looser regulations and expanded drilling options, show exactly why he is unfit for the DOI’s top job.

Read the analysis: “Trump’s Pick to Run Interior Looms Large Behind Ocean Sell-Off” by Margaret Cooney and Mary Ellen Kustin.

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