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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

Prosecutors begin closing arguments in Chauvin trial

Steve Schleicher, an attorney for the prosecution in Derek Chauvin's trial, began closing arguments on Monday by describing in detail George Floyd's last moments — crying out for help and surrounded by strangers, as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial, seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades, will reverberate across the country and have major implications in the fight for racial justice.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
4 hours ago - Sports

European soccer is at war

Liverpool celebrating its 2019 Champions League victory. Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Europe's biggest soccer clubs have established The Super League, a new midweek tournament that would compete with — and threaten the very existence of — the Champions League.

Why it matters: This new league, set to start in 2023, "would bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European soccer since the 1950s, and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small set of teams in modern sports history," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

2021's expected earnings blowout begins

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.

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