President-Elect Donald Trump just picked Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke for the position of Secretary of the Interior.
Sportsmen and women in the United States have been anxiously waiting to see who President-Elect Trump would select for the crucial position of Secretary of the Interior since the election.
Though there was a bit of a false start last week when incorrect rumors started circulating that Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) was his selection, Trump appears to have officially selected Representative Ryan Zinke for the position.
Before running for Congress, Zinke served as a Navy SEAL for over 20 years. He currently represents Montana’s at-large congressional district in Washington D.C. and serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the Armed Services Committee. At the time this article was published, Representative Zinke had not officially announced his acceptance of Trump’s nomination.
So what does his nomination mean for men and women who love the outdoors? Well, assuming he accepts the nomination and gets confirmed by the Senate, his selection is probably good news for hunters and anglers.
First, Zinke is a lifelong hunter and angler. He also is a defender of public access to federal lands. He even resigned his position as a member of the Republican committee writing the party’s platform because it included the transfer of public lands to the state as an issue it supported.
He also voted against a bill that would permit up to two million acres of Forest Service land to be transferred to state ownership. Zinke had this to say about the bill:
I’m starting to wonder how many times I have to tell these guys in leadership I’m not going to allow Montana’s public lands to be sold or given away. Two million acres is a lot, even in Montana. That’s the Flathead National Forest, poof, gone. Lolo National Forest, gone. We use our land for hunting, fishing, hiking, and to create jobs. Our outdoor economy is a billion dollar economic engine for the state that creates jobs. The federal government needs to do a much better job of managing our resources, but the sale or transfer of our land is an extreme proposal and I won’t tolerate it.
Zinke has also historically supported full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which uses fees paid by oil companies to fund a variety of conservation measures.
Hunting and conservation groups like the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and the National Wildlife Federation all support the selection of Representative Zinke as Secretary of the Interior.
By offering Rep. Ryan Zinke — a sportsman and proponent of keeping public lands public and investing in conservation — the position of Secretary of the Interior, President-elect Trump is signaling that he intends to keep his promises to America’s hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts. Rep. Zinke has opposed efforts to sell off America’s public lands and has supported investing in wildlife conservation and reauthorizing the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
On the other hand, Zinke also supports oil and mineral extraction from federally owned lands. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, drilling for oil and mining coal could negatively impact public land outdoor recreation opportunities if it is not handled appropriately.
We’ll see how things pan out with Congressman Ryan Zinke as the Secretary of the Interior, but it sounds like Trump made a pretty darn good pick for a position that is vitally important to sportsmen and women all over the country.