Senate Confirms Montana Representative Ryan Zinke to Lead Interior Department

Zinke. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

On Wednesday morning, with a vote of 68 to 31, the Senate confirmed Montana representative Ryan Zinke as the next head of the Department of the Interior. The former Navy SEAL will be charged with protecting 400 million acres of federal land, a job that some Democrats in the Senate do not believe he is up to.

Zinke’s position at the Interior Department should “concern every lover of our great and grand national parks,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. In a Facebook post earlier this month, Schumer wrote that he opposes Zinke because he would not “put the health and safety of Americans, and the integrity of scientific research, above corporate polluters or special interests.”

Still, 17 Democrats voted for Zinke’s confirmation, in part because he was willing to break with Trump during his confirmation hearing and admit that global warming is not a “hoax.” Talk about setting a low bar.

Zinke, however, does agree with Trump when it comes to expanding fossil-fuel production on federal lands. “It is better to produce energy domestically with reasonable regulation than have it produced overseas without regulation,” he said during his confirmation.

Senate Confirms Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke to Lead Interior