The Department of the Interior's updated business practices and regulations have resulted in "demonstrable gains" in revenue from federal lands, revenue that returns to taxpayers and to states, Bernhardt told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo, pointing to New Mexico as an example.
"New Mexico received $1.17 billion from the Department of the Interior last year. That money goes for schools, for roads, things that are important in New Mexico," Bernhardt said.
More than this, the energy independence gained by the United States under the Trump administration has transformed American foreign policy and the way Americans think about the world, according to Bernhardt.
"But it's primarily transformed workers' opportunities to make money in rural communities," he added.
Jobs in the American energy industry have increased over 4.3 percent between 2016 and 2018, according to a joint report by the National Association of State Energy Officials and the Energy Futures Initiative.
Bernhardt noted that his department was focusing on the dual goals of maintaining safety and environmental compliance while improving business practices allowing the department to do things "faster and smarter."
Bernhardt also commented on Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's opposition to President Trump's pick for the deputy secretary of the interior over offshore drilling concerns, noting that he will "work through that" with the senator.
"Lots of folks have different ideas, for example, there's folks with this Green New Deal that want to stop all energy production on federal lands across the board," Bernhardt said. He added that he would urge these people to call the governor of New Mexico, a Democrat, to ask her what she thinks.
"She'll say, please exempt my state from your crazy Green New Deal," he said.
On environmental concerns, Bernhardt described the "common sense" solutions his department is working toward. Inspections for oil rigs on the outer continental shelf are up 21 percent from where they were in 2016, he said, adding that the department is rigorous in its reviews.