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Zinke confirmed as Interior Secretary

Written by  Wednesday, 01 March 2017 10:58

The US Senate has confirmed that Ryan Zinke will lead the Department of the Interior (DOI), nearly three months following the Trump administration’s nomination in December.

Image of Zinke, from US House of Representatives.

The Senate voted 68-31 in favor of Montana Congressman Zinke.

“Congratulations to our new Secretary of @Interior, Ryan Zinke!” Trump tweeted earlier today.

During his confirmation hearing, the Republican congressman promised to review Obama-era actions limiting oil and gas drilling in Alaska and said he rejected President Donald Trump's past comment that climate change is a "hoax," according to news reports.

In his new post, Zinke will oversee the regulatory bodies the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).He will also be responsible for the management and conservation of US federal land and natural resources, including offshore drilling, wildlife, parks, and more.

Trump nominated Zinke to be the next US Secretary of the DOI in mid-December.

Zinke served for 23 years as a US Navy SEAL, retiring in 2008 with a rank of Commander after leading SEAL operations throughout the globe. After serving in the Montana State Senate, Zinke became the first Navy SEAL to serve in the US House of Representatives when he was elected in 2014.

In Congress, he has served on the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Natural Resources. Zinke is an adopted member of the Assiniboine Sioux Tribe at the Fort Peck Reservation in Northeast Montana. Zinke is married to his wife Lolita and they have three children. He holds a geology degree from the University of Oregon, where he was an All-PAC 10 football player, a master’s in business finance from National University, and a master’s in global leadership from the University of San Diego.

Industry officials seem pleased with the appointment, as applause and congratulatory remarks were given from the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), and The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA)

NOIA President Randall Luthi says that Zinke brings with him the “promise of dawn after eight years of darkness for the offshore energy industry.” 

“NOIA encourages Secretary Zinke to promote policies that both maintain access in current offshore development areas and increase the offshore areas available for sensible oil and natural gas exploration.  As the prior administration left office, it withdrew vast swathes of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans from leasing consideration, leaving almost 94 percent of the outer continental shelf off the table before even really looking to see what resources may lie there.  The prior administration’s answer to meeting the growing world energy demand appeared to be based almost solely upon renewable energy.  While renewable energy is undoubtedly a part of our energy future, Secretary Zinke promises a more realistic, rational and robust approach that acknowledges that oil and natural gas will still meet nearly 80% of the world’s energy needs in 2040,” says Luthi. “NOIA hopes Secretary Zinke will immediately begin work on a new five-year offshore leasing program that addresses the recent illogical and shortsighted Atlantic and Arctic withdrawals.  We also hope he will reestablish the Department’s commitment to safe and sensible seismic surveying to determine the extent of our nation’s oil and natural gas resources in those areas.  We also support efforts to continue to develop offshore wind in a logical and sensible manner.  NOIA looks forward to working with Secretary Zinke on these issues and more in the coming years.”

The IPAA also congratulated Zinke on his new role.

“While often pitted against each other over the last eight years, these efforts to support the economy and protect our environment work hand in hand every day across the country,” says IPAA President and CEO Barry Russell. “As a conservationist from a western energy-producing state, Congressman Zinke appreciates the need to manage our nation’s lands and waters while implementing multiple use policies that enable a variety of activities from conservation and recreation to job development and energy production. IPAA congratulates Congressman Zinke and looks forward to continuing to work with him in his new role as Secretary of the Department of the Interior.”

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Zinke confirmed as Interior Secretary

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