Policy Blog: Trump Taps Zinke for Interior Post

After rumors that he'd tap McMorris Rogers, Trump announced yesterday he's picking Ryan Zinke to head the Department of the Interior.

By Alex Boian December 14, 2016

In a surprise announcement, President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Congressman Ryan Zinke, At-Large Republican representative for Montana, as his nominee to be Secretary of the Department of the Interior.

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and OIAPAC endorsed Zinke in the 2016 election citing his understanding of the outdoor recreation economy and his support for investment in and the protection of America’s public lands and waters. Specifically, Zinke was a co-sponsor of the Outdoor REC Act in the House of Representatives, supports reauthorization and full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and co-sponsored the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act (WDFA), a fix for the fire suppression budgeting issues that dry up federal agencies in years of increasingly devastating forest fires. Zinke also voted for the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act and has taken a vote against the state takeover of public lands. Earlier this year, Zinke resigned from the 2016 Republican Platform Committee at the RNC Convention citing the GOP’s position in support of the selling off of public lands.

“We congratulate Representative Zinke on his nomination to be Interior secretary,” said OIA Executive Director Amy Roberts. “He shares the industry’s values specific to the importance of access to and funding for America’s public lands and waters and the important role they play as the foundation and infrastructure of the $646 billion outdoor recreation economy. We look forward to a collaborative relationship and constructive dialogue with him, but we will also be ready to defend the protection of our shared lands and waters–our American heritage–should they be threatened.”

News reports had previously indicated Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican of Washington state and House Republican Caucus Chair, would be nominated by Trump, but that changed after Zinke met with Trump Monday afternoon in New York.

After receiving the OIA endorsement earlier this year, Zinke said, “I am honored to receive the endorsement from the Outdoor Industry Association and Montana’s outdoor recreation community. Outdoor recreation is an important part of our economy and our culture as Montanans. Whether it’s guide companies, outfitters, or others, the countless small businesses across Montana do great work to provide Montanans and visitors alike with world-class experiences in our public lands and parks. I’ve fought my own party to continue the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and I’ve stood up to them countless times in order to maintain public lands. I will continue doing everything I can to preserve our public lands and waters, as well as protect our right to enjoy their beauty.”