Montana Public Radio

U.S. Department of Interior

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Courtesy Ryan Zinke

On Thursday morning, Congressman Ryan Zinke issued his first press release since media outlets broke the news he was President Elect Donald Trump’s top pick for Secretary of the Interior. In it, he wrote, "I am honored and humbled to be asked to serve Montana and America as Secretary of Interior."

The confirmation unleashed a mixed bag of reactions.

Sen. Jon Tester
U.S. Senate

This morning, Congressman Ryan Zinke confirmed reports that he was nominated to serve as the next Secretary of the Interior. Montana’s senior senator, Democrat Jon Tester, was in Helena today, and spoke with MTPR's Capitol Reporter Corin Cates-Carney, about Zinke’s nomination.

Ryan Zinke will be President-elect Trump's nominee for secretary of the Interior.
Courtesy Ryan Zinke

President-elect Donald Trump has officially chosen Montana Representative Ryan Zinke to serve as his interior secretary.

Zinke was an early supporter of Trump's and publicly sought a Cabinet post when Trump visited in May.

It’s been just over a day since news broke that Montana’s sole Congressional Representative Ryan Zinke may ascend to President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet. But Montana Republican and Democratic Party officials are already thinking about what comes next if Zinke accepts Trump’s nomination.

Rep. Ryan Zinke is rumored to be President-elect Trump's nominee for secretary of the Interior.
Eric Whitney

The news that Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke is apparently President-elect Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Interior is still reverberating across the country and in Montana. For perspective, we’re now joined by Rob Saldin, a political science professor at the University of Montana, and analyst for MTPR. I asked him for his initial impression of the news:

Updated Dec. 15, 11:30 a.m. ET

President-elect Donald Trump has selected Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke to be his interior secretary, the transition team announced Thursday morning.

Zinke is a first-term congressman and a former Navy SEAL commander who served in Iraq and was awarded two Bronze Stars. He was re-elected to a second term last month with 56 percent of the vote.

Media outlets, including the Washington Post, are reporting that Montana’s Congressman Ryan Zinke is president-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Interior.

The Post and other outlets are citing anonymous sources, and Congressman Zinke’s office has not issued any statements at this time.

A Whitefish-based National Park conservation advocate says an Interior Department headed by Congressman Ryan Zinke could be good for Montana and the West.

Michael Jamison heads the National Parks Conservation Association’s Crown of the Continent initiative. He says Zinke is a champion of America’s public lands, but also understands the balance between conservation and development:

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell
Corin Cates-Carney

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior visited Montana Monday to announce a plan blocking mining on public lands just north of Yellowstone National Park.

Blackfeet Tribal Chairman Harry Barnes, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and Devon Energy CEO David Hager sign a ceremonial document at the Department of Interior Headquarters in Washington DC, Wednesday morning, as Blackfeet leadership stand behind
U.S. Department of the Interior

The United States Department of the Interior has announced a negotiated settlement with an energy company that cancels 15 of the remaining oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area just east of Glacier National Park. 

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