President-elect Donald Trump has selected Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke for Interior Secretary. The announcement of the Zinke pick comes a week after media speculation that Trump was selecting Washington State Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers for the role.
The U.S. Department of the Interior is responsible for the management and conservation of the country’s federal land and natural resources. The agencies within its umbrella include the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Geological Survey, and the National Park Service.
Historically, the position is usually held by an individual who hails from a Western state. The current Secretary of the Interior, Sarah Margaret “Sally” Roffey Jewell was born in England but grew up in Washington state.
Business groups and conservatives are applauding the selection of the Montana Congressman. Zinke studied geology at University of Oregon before serving as a Navy Seal from 1986-2008. He built his initial congressional campaign around US energy independence. Zinke currently serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the Armed Services Committee.
Zinke is an interesting selection for Interior Secretary. While he is a life-long hunter and fisherman who defends public access to federal lands, he parts company with environmentalists on issues including coal extraction and oil drilling.
On the other hand, Zinke opposes federal land transfers and stepped down last summer from the GOP platform writing committee because the committee was proposing language which supported federal land transfers. Trump is also opposed to returning federal land to the states.
Once again, Trump has succeeded in selecting for his cabinet another individual who adheres to conservative principles, but also has the ability to work across the aisle.
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