Joshua Tree, CA – Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved David Bernhardt as Deputy Interior Secretary, the second ranking official in the Department of the Interior. Bernhardt has conducted legal work for Cadiz Inc., a company that aims to drain water from an aquifer in the Mojave Trails National Monument for use in coastal communities. He was approved in a 14-9 vote and will proceed to a full Senate hearing.

“We are disturbed by the committee’s approval of David Bernhardt,” commented Danielle Segura, Executive Director, MDLT. “His conflicts of interest with respect to Cadiz and other projects that he stands to profit from threaten the well-being of our desert communities and beyond. We will continue to stand with the people of the Mojave and fight even harder to protect our national monuments in the face of such corruption.”

The Mojave Desert Land Trust will continue to conduct its Desert Defenders campaign to rally local public support of the national monuments in light of the continued federal threats to their protection. The organization is collecting public comments to submit to the Department of the Interior in support of the California desert national monuments until July 10. They will also hold two public rallies for the national monuments: the first on June 15th from 6 to 8 p.m. at Idle Spurs Steakhouse in Barstow and the second on June 16th from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Indio Spanish Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission to protect and care for lands with natural, scenic and cultural value within the Mojave Desert. For more information, visit www.mdlt.org

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