Statement on confirmation of Rep. Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Interior

Statement on confirmation of Rep. Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Interior

Conservation Northwest / Mar 01, 2017 / News Releases

Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Montana congressman Ryan Zinke as the new Secretary of the Interior, presiding over the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs and a broad range of other departments critical to our nation’s natural heritage.

Conservation Northwest Executive Director Mitch Friedman expressed the following remarks regarding Representative Zinke’s confirmation:

“While we admire Representative Zinke for being a Western outdoorsman who understands the beauty and value of our natural heritage, his stances on undermining environmental protections and prioritizing natural resource extraction cause great concern. If he is confirmed, we can only hope that the side of him we’ll see is that which has made strong statements in favor of keeping America’s national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other public lands in federal hands.

A fundamental obligation of the Department of the Interior is to steward America’s rich natural endowment in a manner that balances the short-term demands of development with the long-term needs of fish, wildlife and wild places, as well as the legacy we leave future generations. We are concerned that Rep. Zinke favors development and extractive industries at the expense of clean water, protected wildlands and healthy ecosystems. Doing so not only harms our environment and quality of life, it can also cause significant harm to the vibrant $646 billion dollar outdoor recreation industry, an economic powerhouse in our region. We applaud recent statements from Senator Maria Cantwell and other Western leaders voicing their concerns regarding Rep. Zinke’s nomination.

It is important to note that Representative Zinke has made clear his opposition to radical efforts to sell or transfer our nation’s public lands, wild places conserved for all Americans that enjoy strong public support. Congressman Zinke’s decisive statements in support of public lands, as well as his background as a Westerner who appreciates wild places and the importance of outdoor recreation, demonstrate a willingness to stand up for important conservation causes. We hope this conservation ethic carries forward in his role as Secretary of the Interior.”

Conservation Northwest is a regional wildlife and wildlands conservation organization active for more than 25 years.