Montana’s lone Congressman goes before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources this afternoon for consideration as the nation’s next Secretary of the Interior.
U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, a Republican from Whitefish, was nominated as President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to oversee the nation’s federal lands and natural resources. If Zinke’s nomination clears the committee, it moves to the Senate floor for a simple majority vote.
Watch the committee’s live stream of Zinke’s confirmation hearing here.
Read Zinke’s prepared opening statements here.
The Interior Department has responsibility for energy leases on millions of acres of federal lands and waters around the U.S., as well as for conservation of national parks and forests.
Zinke’s appointment to hold sway over the nation’s federal lands and natural resources is hailed by many as a boon for conservation and public lands in Montana and nationwide, while others are unpacking the Congressman’s checkered voting history and support for aggressive energy-exploration policies as a portent for a polluter-friendly administration led by Trump, who has pledged to roll back regulations and unleash a torrent of fossil-fuel energy production.
While Zinke broke from the pack in his first term as the lone House Republican to support preservation of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund and opposed transferring the management of federal lands to states’ control — a view many conservationists hold with inviolable sanctity — he recently voted to overturn a rule requiring Congress to calculate the value of federal land, removing a significant barrier to limit lawmakers from ceding federal control of public lands.
Beacon senior writer Tristan Scott is moderating reactions and coverage via Twitter during the hearing:
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