Putting to rest any lingering doubts about his pick for interior secretary, President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday confirmed his intent to nominate freshman Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.). “He has built one of the strongest track records on championing regulatory relief, forest management, responsible energy development and public land issues,” Trump said in a press release. “America is the most beautiful country in the world and he is going to help keep it that way with smart management of our federal lands. At the same time, my administration’s goal is to repeal bad regulations and use our natural resources to create jobs and wealth for the American people, and Ryan will explore every possibility for how we can safely and responsibly do that.”
Zinke’s duties would almost certainly include overturning environmental restrictions on energy production on U.S. government lands, including the current moratorium on coal leasing on federal property.
Zinke’s voting record on environmental issues is less than stellar, according to the League of Conservation Voters. The congressman scores only 3 percent on the LCV scorecard. Other than voting against an amendment to the 2016 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act to eliminate all funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Zinke has voted “anti-environment” at every opportunity, according to the LCV.
“As inscribed in the stone archway of Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Montana, I shall faithfully uphold Teddy Roosevelt’s belief that our treasured public lands are ‘for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.’ I will work tirelessly to ensure our public lands are managed and preserved in a way that benefits everyone for generations to come,” Zinke said in the Trump press release.