Zinke approved as Interior secretary; most groups supportive

The Senate voted Monday 63-31 to close debate on Zinke's confirmation, which opened up a 30-hour window to discuss his nomination before the vote. The self-described "conservative conservationist" is expected to get to work rolling back Obama's climate change agenda.

In all, 17 Democratic senators voted in favor of Zinke, including the former Democratic vice presidential candidate, Tim Kaine.

Confirmation required a majority of votes from the 100-member Senate, and the vote largely followed party lines, 68 to 31.

Conservationists are applauding his previous comments in support of maintaining access to federal public lands.

Zinke will oversee energy development on federal lands and the protection of endangered species, as well as the country's national parks. Steve Daines said Zinke "will be a strong advocate for our public lands".

Zinke also pledges to tackle an estimated $12 billion backlog in maintenance and fix at national parks and stand firm against attempts to sell, give away or transfer federal lands.

"The Department of the Interior is an agency of enormous significance to the lives of New Mexicans, Native Americans, and people across the West and the nation".

Zinke garnered bipartisan support by holding to long-standing priorities of both parties, The Hill reported.

"I think the state should have a say on it", he said.

"Congressman Zinke and I have had several discussions about forestry - especially about how to get the harvest up in a sustainable way, create jobs in rural America and protect our special places", Wyden said. It also would have effectively transferred management oversight of 60 million acres of federal lands to the states.

  • Joe Gonzales