For Immediate Release 
December 15, 2016

President-Elect Donald J. Trump Intends to Nominate U.S. Congressman Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Interior

(New York, NY) - President-elect Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to appoint U.S. Congressman Ryan Zinke from Montana as Secretary of the Interior.
Rep. Zinke has spent his time in the U.S. House of Representatives building an impressive portfolio on Interior issues ranging from federal mineral leases to tribal affairs to public lands conservation. Rep. Zinke is widely praised for his voting record that supports the Teddy Roosevelt philosophy of managing public lands, which calls for multiple-use to include economic, recreation and conservation.
“I am pleased to nominate Congressman Ryan Zinke as our Secretary of the Interior. He has built one of the strongest track records on championing regulatory relief, forest management, responsible energy development and public land issues,” said President-elect Donald J. Trump. “As a former Navy SEAL, he has incredible leadership skills and an attitude of doing whatever it takes to win. America is the most beautiful country in the world and he is going to help keep it that way with smart management of our federal lands. At the same time, my administration’s goal is to repeal bad regulations and use our natural resources to create jobs and wealth for the American people, and Ryan will explore every possibility for how we can safely and responsibly do that.”
“As someone who grew up in a logging and rail town and hiking in Glacier National Park, I am honored and humbled to be asked to serve Montana and America as Secretary of Interior,” said Rep. Zinke. “As inscribed in the stone archway of Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Montana, I shall faithfully uphold Teddy Roosevelt's belief that our treasured public lands are ‘for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.’  I will work tirelessly to ensure our public lands are managed and preserved in a way that benefits everyone for generations to come. Most important, our sovereign Indian Nations and territories must have the respect and freedom they deserve.  I look forward to making the Department of Interior and America great again. May God bless Montana, God bless America and God bless the troops who defend her.”
As a fifth-generation Montanan who grew up near Glacier National Park, Rep. Zinke has had a lifelong appreciation for preserving America’s natural beauty. He has consistently led the efforts to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund in Congress, and has also been a firm advocate for our nation’s sportsmen to gain access to our public lands with the SCORE Act and SHARE Act. Rep. Zinke also introduced the Resilient Federal Forest Act in Congress, which initiated new reforms for revitalizing America’s timber areas and preventing wildfires.
Rep. Zinke 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.
Zinke served for 23 years as a U.S. 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 U.S. 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. Rep. Zinke is an adopted member of the Assiniboine Sioux Tribe at the Fort Peck Reservation in Northeast Montana. Rep. Zinke is married to his wife Lolita and they have three children.

*  *  *

What They Are Saying...

Praise for Congressman Ryan Zinke as Secretary of Interior

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI):
“Ryan is a no-nonsense leader who has spent his entire life serving this country. He went above and beyond the call of duty as a Navy SEAL for more than two decades. After hanging up the uniform, he decided to continue his service by representing the people of Montana in the House. As a member of the Natural Resources Committee, he has been an ardent supporter of all-of-the-above energy policies and responsible land management. And as a Westerner with close to one third of his state owned by the federal government, he is intimately familiar with how Washington’s decisions affect people’s lives. Ryan’s experience and commitment to improving the lives of all Americans will make him an excellent Interior Secretary. I could not be happier for Ryan, Lola, and their entire family.”
U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT):
“Ryan Zinke protected us abroad and in combat and I know he will do the same for our treasured public lands as Secretary of the Interior,” Daines stated. “In Congress, I’ve seen Ryan stand up and fight to protect our way of life.  As a westerner, Ryan understands the challenges of having the federal government as your largest neighbor and I couldn't think of a better fit for Secretary of the Interior.”

House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT):

“Selfishly, I’m not crazy about this nomination, because Zinke was a bright freshman member of our committee. This will be a loss for us. I was looking forward to working with him on Resources and in the Western Caucus. However, this appointment gives us greater opportunity to help people and solve problems that face the West.

“In our committee, he dealt with many issues including transmission rights-of-way to move power from its production source to where the people are. He experienced firsthand the frustrations associated with an administration that didn’t put its priorities on helping people and effective land management.  

“He also understands our frustrations with Interior’s arbitrary rules and regulations that put dogma ahead of helping people. He clearly understands Speaker Ryan’s Article I initiative. I am excited to have an administration that will now partner with Congress to solve problems created by years of mismanagement at Interior. I look forward to working with Zinke to create new solutions.”  

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC):
“The selection of Congressman Ryan Zinke to head up the Department of the Interior is another great addition by the President-Elect to an already excellent cabinet. I am very excited about the pick and I hope that he accepts. This Navy SEAL has been a pleasure to work with over the last Congress. I had the chance to serve with Ryan on the Committee on Natural Resources, which oversees the Department. He showed a depth of knowledge concerning interior issues that will provide an experienced voice in President Trump's White House. Whether that be ensuring that the American public has access to federal lands or that we are developing the energy resources in federal areas, Ryan is someone who is on the right side of these important issues. Ryan and I also share the similar passions for the outdoors and sportsmen's issues. As Co-Chairman of the largest Caucus in Congress - the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) - I look forward to working with a fellow outdoorsman on issues important to the hunters, fishermen, shooters and outdoor loving Americans. Initiatives of the CSC like the SHARE Act will be a top priority in the next Congress. I believe Ryan will be ready to help deliver real results to these efforts as well as many others while Secretary of the Interior.”
Dale Hall, CEO of Ducks Unlimited:
“We are pleased to see a hunter and conservationist nominated to the top public lands position and look forward to working with Rep. Zinke on issues of critical importance to conservation.”
Rob Sisson, President of ConservAmerica:
“ConservAmerica congratulates Rep. Ryan Zinke on his nomination to be the next Secretary of the Interior. Based on conversations I’ve had with Rep. Zinke on a number of issues, I am confident President Elect Trump made an inspired choice. Mr. Trump’s comments last week in North Carolina about public lands and the party’s Theodore Roosevelt conservation legacy foreshadowed this caliber of nominee.”
Paul Walker, Executive Director of ConservAmerica:
“His Montana background will serve him well in this role.  About one-third of Montana’s land mass is public, providing Rep. Zinke a firm grounding in the challenges inherent in the stewardship of public lands and local economies. His current constituency includes ranchers, farmers, loggers, hunters, anglers, Native Americans, miners, and high-tech innovators. In order to pass our great public lands legacy on to future generations, we need those groups to work more closely as stakeholders with appropriate government agencies. Rep. Zinke is a leader who can bring them together.”

Tina Beattie, Chair of the ConservAmerica Board:
“We stand ready to partner with the new Secretary of Interior as our nation seeks to continue its record of good stewardship of our land, water, and wildlife. We’re excited to see him bring his Navy SEAL ethic to the Department of the Interior.”
Land Tawney, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) President and CEO:
“Congressman Zinke understands the importance of public lands and balancing management of these important resources with energy development and other uses. As Montana’s lone representative in the House of Representatives, Mr. Zinke has showed himself to be receptive to the interests of a wide range of constituents and a potential ally of sportsmen and other outdoor recreationists.
“Charged with administering significant federal lands and natural resources, the Interior secretary is possibly the most powerful individual in the country when it comes to the future of our cherished public lands and waters, fish and wildlife and outdoor traditions.
“We’re gratified that the Trump administration is listening to our concerns and showing a willingness to act in the best interests of the American people and our irreplaceable public lands legacy."

BHA National Board Chair Ryan Busse:
“Montana sportsmen have welcomed opportunities to engage with Representative Zinke during his work on behalf of Montanans as a member of Congress. We appreciate his efforts to keep public lands public and to strongly fund cornerstone natural resources programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund; at the same time, we are committed to ensuring that fish and wildlife and their habitats are considered priorities with competing uses of our public lands. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Mr. Zinke as Interior secretary.”
Whit Fosburgh, President, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership:
“He’s shown courage and commitment to public lands and conservation and [is] someone we think would be an excellent secretary of interior.” (Washington Post)
Independent Petroleum Association of America President and CEO Barry Russell:
“We’re pleased with President-elect Trump’s selection of Congressman Ryan Zinke, a former Navy SEAL commander, for the position of Secretary of the Interior. The Interior Secretary is our nation’s strongest advocate for protecting and actively harnessing more than 500 million acres of federal land and natural resources for the benefit of all Americans. Nobody values the importance of public land use better than a Westerner. As a conservationist hailing from the energy-producing state of Montana, Congressman Zinke understands the critical role that the Interior Department plays in balancing the effective management of our nation’s lands and waters with multiple use policies that open access to the public for conservation, recreational opportunities, job-creating economic activities, and safe, responsible energy development. IPAA looks forward to continuing to work with Congressman Zinke in his new role as Interior Secretary and collaborate together on new ways to grow our economy, while improving the environment and enhancing life for all Americans.”
American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard:
“As a member of the House Natural Resources Committee and a fifth generation Montanan, Congressman Zinke knows the great potential that our federal lands hold when it comes to developing our nation’s energy resources, and he knows that this is good for American jobs and strengthening our national security,” said Gerard. “As a former member of our armed forces who served as a U.S. Navy Seal for over two decades, Congressman Zinke knows that our nation’s energy security and national security are dependent upon each other.
“We look forward to working with Congressman Zinke is his new role on policies that will keep energy affordable, create jobs, and protect our environment as we lead the world in the production and refining of oil and natural gas while reducing carbon emissions.”
*  *  *

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
December 15, 2016

NRECA Statement on the Selection of Rep. Ryan Zinke for Interior Secretary

ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) today issued the following statement in response to President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Rep. Ryan Zinke to serve as Interior Secretary.

“America’s electric cooperatives have established a tremendous relationship with Ryan Zinke during his time in Congress, and he’s a great choice to lead the Interior Department,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson.  “Electric cooperatives work closely with DOI on a number of issues, including co-op right-of-way and land-use activities. The Department plays a key role in balancing the need to protect the nation’s natural resources with co-ops’ ability to maintain reliable and affordable electric service. Once confirmed, we look forward to working with Rep. Zinke to advance these crucial goals.”

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.


League of Conservation Voters
December 15, 2016

LCV Statement on Zinke’s Nomination for Secretary of Interior

Washington, D.C. – In response to news reports that Trump is nominating Rep. Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Interior, League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski issued the following statement:

“By nominating Rep. Ryan Zinke for Secretary of the Interior, Trump is sending yet another message to Big Polluters that their profits will come first on our public lands. While Rep. Zinke on occasion has broken with his party’s congressional leadership on conservation, it remains to be seen whether as Secretary of the Interior he would truly challenge their anti-parks agenda.  His atrocious 3 percent score on LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard gives us little confidence that he will stand with the American people over polluters. Indeed, he is a climate denier who supports drilling in the Arctic and continuing outrageous subsidies for dirty energy development on public lands–positions that align with the oil and gas companies that have spent nearly $350,000 on his campaigns. The American people should be alarmed that someone with his anti-environmental record could be responsible for our national parks and wildlife refuges and could promote more dirty and dangerous drilling.

Sierra Club
December 13, 2016

Sierra Club Criticizes Zinke Nomination for DOI

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Media reports today noted President-elect Donald Trump hopes to appoint Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Interior. The Department of the Interior exists to protect and manage the country’s public lands and resources, including national parks, monuments and endangered species.

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issued the following statement.

“In nominating Representative Zinke, President-elect Trump has once again chosen someone unsuited for the job at hand. His nomination jeopardizes the places that are so much a part of the American spirit and the backbone of the outdoor recreation economy.
“Zinke is only able to recognize the importance of programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund a mere 3 percent of the time, while the other 97 percent of the time he’s voted with those that would dismantle, degrade and dispose of our public lands. Being Secretary of the Interior requires someone who will protect our public lands 100 percent of the time.
“Public lands are held in trust for all of us and should be managed as an investment in the future. Yet, Zinke is firmly in the past, clinging to plans to mine, drill and log public lands to benefit corporate polluters, supporting dangerous and dirty projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, and opposing efforts to clean up our air. The need to keep dirty fuels in the ground is urgent, especially on public lands. We cannot afford to have someone in charge who dabbles in climate denial.
"We strongly urge Senators, who are elected to represent and protect the American people, to stand up for everyone who enjoys the outdoors and oppose this nomination.”

Center for Western Prioirities
December 13, 2016

STATEMENT on Donald Trump’s selection of Ryan Zinke as Interior Secretary

DENVER—In response to reports that Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke has accepted President-elect Donald Trump’s offer to lead the Department of the Interior, the Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Executive Director Jennifer Rokala:

“During his political career, Representative Ryan Zinke has flirted with a broad spectrum of positions on public lands, only to change course when the people of Montana made it clear that siding with the land seizure agenda would permanently harm his electoral prospects. If he takes the helm at Interior, Montanans and all Westerners will continue to hold him accountable and will not forget decisions that undermine America’s public lands legacy.

“During his confirmation hearing, Rep. Zinke must reassure the American people that he will stand up to members of his own party and never tolerate any attempts to hand over the ownership or management of American lands to state or private hands.

“Last week, President-elect Trump told America he wants to follow in Theodore Roosevelt’s footsteps by conserving America’s parks and public lands. Ryan Zinke has also proclaimed ‘I’m a Teddy Roosevelt conservationist.’ If he’s confirmed as Interior Secretary, Zinke will have to finally choose whether his legacy will be one worthy of Teddy Roosevelt’s respect.”

Congressman Ryan Zinke has been all over the map on public lands

As a candidate for lieutenant governor in 2012, Ryan Zinke signed the Montana Constitutional Governance Pledge, which states that federal lands in Montana are unconstitutional.

The pledge reads:

“The undersigned Candidates pledge to…. legally and administratively oppose the multitude of bureaucracies that have sprung up to enforce the unlawful seizure of our native land and its resources including, but not limited to: The Bureau of Land Management, The United States Park Service, The various bureaus of Wildlife and Fisheries, etc., and restore the rightful powers over the land to the State and private ownership.”

Earlier this year, Rep. Zinke voted for a bill that would have transferred management of millions of acres of American forest lands to Western states. The policy—a precursor to the “transfer” of public lands—was widely panned by conservation and sportsmen organizations. At the same time, Rep. Zinke resigned his position as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in protest of the Republican Party platform, which advocated for disposing of American public lands into state and private hands.

Center for Biological Diversity
December 13, 2016

Center for Biological Diversity Statement on Ryan Zinke as Trump's Choice for Interior Secretary

TUCSON, Ariz.— Freshman congressman Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) has reportedly been picked by Donald Trump to serve as secretary of the Interior to oversee endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hundreds of millions of acres of public land including the national parks, Bureau of Land Management lands and national wildlife refuges and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Zinke was a staunch, early and controversial supporter of Trump throughout the presidential campaign. Trump has picked his wife Lola Zinke to oversee the transition of the Veteran's Administration.

Statement of Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity:

“Ryan Zinke has a dismal 3 percent lifetime environmental voting record. His brief political career has been substantially devoted to attacking endangered species and the Endangered Species Act. He led efforts to strip federal protections for endangered wolves, lynx and sage grouse, voted to exempt massive agribusiness and water developers from Endangered Species Act limitations, and opposed efforts to crack down on the international black market ivory trade."

“Zinke consistently votes for the interests of oil and gas companies, which is not surprising since Oasis Petroleum is his largest campaign contributor and the oil and gas industry is his third-largest sector contributor. He has also voted against and attacked the establishment of protective national monuments on public lands."

“On the bright side, Zinke has spoken and voted against the outright transfer of federal public lands to states and corporations. This is in keeping with positions taken by Donald Trump and his son Donald, Jr. Unfortunately Zinke has championed the same result — greatly increased logging, mining and oil drilling, greatly reduced environmental protections, elimination of federal control, and weakening of environmental standards — by turning over public land management to industry-dominated panels appointed by state governors. In Zinke’s scheme, industry and state interests get all the environmental destruction and profit they want, with the federal government being made to pay for it through nominal retention of land title."

“Zinke’s cynically named ‘Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015’ was one of several schemes he led to turn control of public land to industry-dominated panels. It was widely opposed by conservationists, sportsmen, businesses and even some timber companies for dispensing with environmental laws and public involvement in order to ramp up unsustainable logging levels."

"Disturbingly, in 2012 Zinke contradicted his recent stance when he signed the extremist Montana Constitutional Governance Pledge promising to 'legally and administratively oppose the multitude of bureaucracies that have sprung up to enforce the unlawful seizure of our native land and its resources including, but not limited to: the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Park Service, the various bureaus of Wildlife and Fisheries, etc., and restore the rightful powers over the land to the State and private ownership.' During confirmation hearings, the Senate needs to grill Zinke on this contradiction and ensure he truly supports keeping public lands in public hands."

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.