Udall Statement on Confirmation Of Ryan Zinke As Secretary Of The Interior

The Senate confirmed Ryan Zinke to lead the Interior Department, putting a self-described "Teddy Roosevelt Republican" in charge of making decisions about where - and whether - to allow drilling and mining on USA public lands.

Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., testifies before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources during his confirmation hearing as Secretary of the Interior on January 17. the Senate approved his nomination Wednesday by a 68-31 vote.

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Zinke served as a Navy SEAL for 22 years, from 1986 until 2008, and is the first former SEAL to ascend to leading a department of the federal government. The self-described "conservative conservationist" is expected to get to work rolling back Obama's climate change agenda. "I was encouraged by Congressman Zinke's promise to be a "strong advocate" for Native Americans, and I intend to hold him to that promise". Republican senator Johnny Isakson did not vote. As a one-term Congressman, Zinke worked to boost mining, including supporting an effort to end a coal leasing moratorium on federal lands.

"Ryan Zinke made his name in Congress as a fossil fuel industry sweetheart who will give private corporations free rein to exploit publicly owned lands for private profit."
Forty percent of US output comes from federal lands that are mostly in Wyoming and Montana.

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Zinke is not considered a prominent target for Democrats, and his nomination easily passed through the Senate Energy and National Resources Committee after he picked up support from numerous Democrats.

On the other hand, Zinke's confirmation was celebrated by Republican lawmakers after the vote, many of whom support his federal land management style that will encourage public use such as hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping.

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