Trump offers Montana's Zinke interior secretary

Politico is reporting today that Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador is being considered for secretary of the interior in a new Trump Administration. Numerous same media sources late last week said Trump would pick Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest ranking Republican in the House, for the job.

Trump's decision to pick Zinke was first reported by Politico. He was an early supporter of Trump and met with the president-elect Monday at Trump Tower in Manhattan.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Zinke is politically ambitious.

Zinke will be nominated to head the Interior Department, which employs more than 70,000 people across the United States and oversees more than 20 percent of federal land, including National Parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite.

Zinke is a member of the House Natural Resources Committee. "You know I won so big, her territory, we won so big, and she is a fabulous woman".

But the Washington-based League of Conservation Voters blasted Zinke in what has become an almost knee-jerk reaction to Trump's energy and environmental nominees, saying that Zinke "is a climate denier who supports drilling in the Arctic and continuing outrageous subsidies for dirty energy development and public lands-positions that align with the oil and gas companies that have spent nearly $350,000 on his campaigns".

"That means protecting access to public lands, ensuring our forests and prairies are indeed managed for multiple use and not just resource extraction, and respecting that wild places and public lands are core American values that he'll need to protect for all citizens." he said. So something's going on, and so I think you need to be prudent.

Sybert said Zinke had a "checkered record when it comes to public lands", including a vote for developing wilderness areas, but has taken some good votes against lands transfer and for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, an important issue for sportsmen groups. Zinke, who has been endorsed by the Outdoor Industry Association, has embraced that sector of the state's economy.

Zinke graduated from the University of OR, where he played football and earned a degree in geology.

Zinke has raised doubts about climate change as "unsettled science". Hundreds of pages of the book were redacted by the U.S. Department of Defense because of concerns releasing that information could jeopardize U.S. security. He has master's degrees in business finance and global leadership from the University of San Diego. The newspaper observed that Trump has also opposed transfer of federal lands to the states or private parties, but the provision made it into the party's official political platform.

  • Marlene Weaver