PHOTO: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Now playing
01:36
Dem congressman responds to Zinke's attack
US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (2nd L) with husband Douglas Emhoff and US President-elect Joe Biden (R) with wife Dr. Jill Biden watch as a Covid-19 Memorial is lighted at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, on January 19, 2021 to honor the lives of those lost to Covid-19. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (2nd L) with husband Douglas Emhoff and US President-elect Joe Biden (R) with wife Dr. Jill Biden watch as a Covid-19 Memorial is lighted at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, on January 19, 2021 to honor the lives of those lost to Covid-19. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
03:42
'Striking': Tapper on Biden's Covid-19 memorial being first of its kind
trump farewell message
trump farewell message
PHOTO: White House Photo
Now playing
03:18
Trump offers 'best wishes' to new administration in farewell address
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 17: The U.S. Capitol dome is seen beyond a security fence on January 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 17: The U.S. Capitol dome is seen beyond a security fence on January 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week's riots at the U.S. Capitol Building, the FBI has warned of additional threats in the nation's capital and in all 50 states. According to reports, as many as 25,000 National Guard soldiers will be guarding the city as preparations are made for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th U.S. President. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
Now playing
01:15
12 Army National Guard members removed from inauguration duty
Trump turns to reporters as he exits the White House to walk toward Marine One on the South Lawn on January 12, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Trump turns to reporters as he exits the White House to walk toward Marine One on the South Lawn on January 12, 2021 in Washington, DC.
PHOTO: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Now playing
04:13
'He is actually worried': Collins reports on Trump pardon meeting
Left to right: Janet Yellen, Alejandro Mayorkas, Avril Haines, Lloyd Austin, and Antony Blinken
Left to right: Janet Yellen, Alejandro Mayorkas, Avril Haines, Lloyd Austin, and Antony Blinken
PHOTO: AFP & Getty Images
Now playing
04:32
Take a look at Biden's top cabinet nominees
Now playing
01:50
Ashley Biden on Beau's memory and the White House transition
PHOTO: Pool/Getty Images
Now playing
02:04
Mitch McConnell: Capitol rioters were fed lies
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:51
Why Black voters are hopeful for change under Biden administration
Bill Barr itvnews
Bill Barr itvnews
PHOTO: itv news
Now playing
02:22
Election fraud rhetoric 'precipitated riots' says Barr
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
01:49
Reporter details differences between Trump and Biden's inaugurations
Now playing
03:11
Avlon looks back at Trump's Inauguration Day promises
Nuclear codes Biden Trump
Nuclear codes Biden Trump
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
02:22
From Trump to Biden: How transfer of nuclear codes will work
Now playing
04:22
Trump's influential supporters spoke of what was coming before riot
McCarthy
McCarthy
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:40
'Far too close:' Army secretary reveals sobering details on riot
(CNN) —  

President Donald Trump announced he would nominate acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to replace Ryan Zinke, who left the administration late last year.

“I am pleased to announce that David Bernhardt, Acting Secretary of the Interior, will be nominated as Secretary of the Interior. David has done a fantastic job from the day he arrived, and we look forward to having his nomination officially confirmed!” Trump tweeted Monday.

Bernhardt thanked the President in response to the tweet, calling the nomination “a humbling privilege.”

Trump’s choice to have Bernhardt, a former energy lobbyist, lead the Interior Department on a permanent basis would set the stage for a potentially contentious confirmation process.

The Senate confirmed Bernhardt as deputy secretary of the department on a vote of 53-43 in 2017, despite concern from environmental groups about placing the former industry figure in a prominent role overseeing public lands.

Sen. Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, welcomed the nomination, saying in a statement: “As a native Coloradan from the Western Slope, David knows how important public lands are to our state and has a keen understanding of the issues Coloradans face every day.”

Bernhardt has led the Interior Department on an acting basis since Zinke left the administration. The department has a dual mission of developing natural resources, such as oil and gas, and protecting them for future generations.

Last year, House Democrats raised concerns about Bernhardt’s former clients, and Bernhardt said in a statement at the time that he had committed to avoiding conflicts of interest.

“I take my ethics agreement seriously,” his statement said.

Just moments after Trump announced his intent to nominate Bernhardt as the official head of the department, the environmental group Friends of the Earth released a statement calling for the Senate to reject the nomination.

“Rather than give Bernhardt a promotion, Congress should be working on exposing his numerous conflicts of interest and ethics violations, as a fossil fuel lobbyist and now as a government official,” read a statement from Nicole Ghio, senior fossil fuels program manager for Friends of the Earth.

Trump had announced in December that Zinke would leave the administration, a move that came as several ethics investigations into Zinke’s leadership of the department were underway.

Rep. Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat who’s now chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees the Interior Department, said after the December announcement that investigations would continue despite Zinke’s exit.

According to his biography on the Interior Department website, Bernhardt “is an avid hunter and angler,” and held several positions in the department during the George W. Bush administration, including as its solicitor.

Bernhardt was a member of Trump’s transition team, and as deputy secretary since his confirmation in 2017, he has played a key role in consequential decisions, as CNN noted previously.

CNN’s Gregory Wallace, Manu Raju, Rene Marsh and Sarah Ganim contributed to this report.