President-elect Donald Trump announced Dec. 15 that he has nominated Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana, who has a strong record of supporting energy drilling and deregulation, to be Secretary of the Interior.
Trump posted a statement to his official transition website, Great Again:
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. 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.
Trump added that his administration will work hard to "repeal bad regulations" while creating as much revenue and employment as possible with "natural resources." Zinke, Trump said, will "explore every possibility" for the best way to do that.
Zinke was an early Trump supporter who expressed interest in being a part of the Cabinet as early as May, when Trump campaigned in Montana, reports The Associated Press. Zinke, who has served in the Montana State Senate, as well as the Committee on Armed Services in the U.S. House of Representatives, has spoken in favor of drilling and mining public lands and, like Trump, has questioned whether climate change is as real and serious a threat as scientists say.
"I will work tirelessly to ensure our public lands are managed and preserved in a way that benefits everyone for generations to come," Zinke said of his new position, according to the transition website. "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."