FORMER LEGAL CLIENTS AND
QUESTIONABLE LEGAL OPINIONS
As a private attorney, Bernhardt represented clients likely to have additional business before the Department of Interior. Some of the other clients he represented and positions he argued include:
Bernhardt defended new oil and gas leasing on the site of the Deepwater Horizon spill.
As an attorney with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Bernhardt represented the National Ocean Industries Association as an intervenor defendant, defending the Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM)’s approval of two lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico where the Deepwater Horizon spill had occurred two years earlier. Plaintiff environmental organizations alleged violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of BOEM. [Oceana v. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (D.D.C. 2014).]
Bernhardt defended a project that threatened wildlife living the Delta-Mendota Canal.
With Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Bernhardt argued for the Westlands Water District, one of the plaintiffs challenging the legality of the 2009 Biological Opinion issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The Biological Opinion determined that the Bureau of Reclamation’s (Reclamation) proposed project to store and deliver water to agricultural and domestic consumers in California would jeopardize some of the Delta Mendota Canal’s endangered Salmonoids, and required Reclamation to change the way it pumps waters out of the California Central Valley’s rivers. Bernhardt alleged violations of the ESA and APA. The Ninth Circuit Court upheld the Biological Opinion. [San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority v. Locke (9th Cir. 2014).]
Bernhardt represented a Native American community with tribal land holdings in Wisconsin.
With Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Bernhardt represented the Forest County Potawatomi Community, challenging DOI’s decision to disapprove a 2014 amendment to a gaming compact between the Plaintiff and the State of Wisconsin under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. [Forest County Potawatomi Community v. United States (D.D.C. 2017).]
The Potawatomi Reservation, located primarily in Forest County, Wisconsin, totals 12,000 acres– 9,000 acres are trust land, and 3,000 acres are fee land. [Forest County Potawatomi Community]
Bernhardt defended the EPA’s leniency towards a coal-fired power plant located on tribal lands.
With Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Bernhardt represented Central Arizona Water Conservation District, defending EPA’s source-specific Federal Implementation Plan under the Clean Air Act for the Navajo Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona. Petitioners sought final review of EPA’s plan, alleging that EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously in failing to comply with statutory deadlines for implementation of portions of Clean Air Act. [Yazzie v. EPA (9th Cir. 2017).]