Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. Photo: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Department of Interior's Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt will take over as acting Secretary in Ryan Zinke's absence after his departure at the end of the year.

Why it matters: There won't be much change in policy for the department during Bernhardt's tenure, but the department will begin its recovery from a tumultuous run by Zinke marred with scandal and controversy. However, Bernhardt has seen his share of controversy in Washington as well.

Details: Bernhardt is an oil and gas lobbyist and a member of former President George W. Bush's administration. Environmentalists are not pleased with the decision.

The backdrop: He replaced independent government analysis in congressional testimony with reports from oil companies, according to climate communications and advocacy group, Climate Nexus.

  • Bernhardt also served as counselor to the secretary when J. Steven Giles was involved in a corruption scandal.

There are also questions about various conflicts of interest he has, including ties between oil and gas companies he has as a former lobbyist.

  • In October 2017, the Bureau of Land Management announced a change in opinion, allowing a controversial water project from a former Bernhardt client, Cadiz Inc., to move forward.
  • The Interior Department also refused to make a decision allowing the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Native American tribes to open a new casino project in Connecticut, benefitting MGM Resorts International.

Go deeper: Smoother, but same track expected at Interior following Zinke's departure

Go deeper

6 mins ago - World

Mayor of Seoul found dead

Park at a conference in 2017. Photo: Aurelien Morissard/IP3/Getty Images

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon has been found dead hours after his daughter reported him missing, prompting a massive manhunt, Yonhap news agency reports.

What we know: Park's disappearance came shortly after allegations of sexual harassment against him were published in local media, according to the FT, which also reports that his daughter had found a "will-like message."

Scoop: Chinese biotech giant's U.S. subsidiary received PPP loan

Chinese biotech company BGI Genomics provided mobile labs for conducting COVID-19 tests at a sports center in Beijing. Photo credit: Xinhua/Chen Zhonghao via Getty Images.

A U.S. subsidiary of Chinese genomics company BGI Group received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to data on the program released by the U.S. Treasury Department this week.

Why it matters: BGI's close ties to the Chinese government, which is constructing a massive genetics database of its population, have raised concerns among U.S. officials.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 12,081,232 — Total deaths: 550,440 — Total recoveries — 6,639,503Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 3,057,431 — Total deaths: 132,360 — Total recoveries: 953,420 — Total tested: 37,431,666Map.
  3. Public health: Cases rise in 33 states — Fauci says states with severe outbreaks "should seriously look at shutting down"
  4. Education: How Trump's push to reopen schools could backfire — College sports stare down a disaster in the fall.
  5. Jobs: 1.3 million Americans filed for unemployment last week.
  6. Travel: Over 1,000 TSA agents have tested positive.