Montana Public Radio

U.S. Department of the Interior

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. 

US: Coal Mine Expansion To Have Minor Climate Impact

Oct 6, 2016
USDA NRCS

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. officials approved a 117 million-ton expansion of a Montana coal mine after concluding that burning the fuel would have a minor impact on the nation's overall greenhouse gas emissions, according to documents released Thursday.

Map of Solenex lease site in the Badger-Two Medicine near Glacier National Park
Courtesy Montana Wilderness Association

The federal government says a lawsuit challenging their authority to deny an oil and gas lease in the Badger- Two Medicine area next to Glacier National Park should not go to trial.

Solenex well site is the last remaining oil lease in Badger-Two-Medicine.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

This week the U.S. Department of the Interior asked a federal judge to give them more time to respond to a lawsuit over canceled oil and gas leases in the Lewis and Clark National Forest. 

The former lease owner is suing. Earlier this month, lawyers for Louisiana based Solenex LLC asked the court to find that the Secretary of the Interior acted outside the law when canceling their 33-year old lease. 

U.S. Capitol
flickr user Tim Evanson (CC-BY-SA-2)

A bill that Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke is pushing to lift the Obama Administration's suspension on coal leases on federal lands made progress in the House Thursday.

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