The incoming administration has reportedly “pivoted” from nominating Washington state Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to lead the U.S. Department of Interior to Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, who believes climate change is “not a settled science.”

Rep. Zinke’s record includes the following:

  • Opposes common-sense BLM methane rule
  • Supported the Keystone XL pipeline
  • Energy plan would focus heavily on fossil fuels, rolling back EPA regulations and increasing coal exports
  • Believes “clean coal” should be “developed”
  • Introduced provisions in Interior appropriations to end federal coal moratorium and block coal, oil and gas regulations
  • Opposes increasing royalties for coal, oil and gas extraction for taxpayers
  • Voted for a bill that would have put politically appointed boards in charge of managing public lands, but claims to oppose transfer or sale of public lands.

“Trump is playing shell games to make a very bad Interior Secretary nominee in Rep. Zinke appear palatable in comparison to Rep. McMorris Rodgers, whose nomination for the same post was leaked last week,” said Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, executive director of the Western Environmental Law Center. “This nominee is a dirty energy advocate through and through, but his record suggests he opposes a sell-off of public lands, in contrast to Rep. McMorris Rodgers. I hope Zinke really does value public lands as highly as do the American people. If he does, he should realize climate change presents a grave risk to our public lands, our rivers and streams, and the West’s iconic wildlife – and we can’t mine and drill our way out of the climate crisis.”

Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, Western Environmental Law Center, 575-770-1295, 

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