Ryan Zinke, confirmed by the Senate as interior secretary

The U.S. Senate moved Congressman Ryan Zinke one step closer to becoming secretary of interior in President Trump's administration. "I was encouraged by Congressman Zinke's promise to be a "strong advocate" for Native Americans, and I intend to hold him to that promise".

Conservationists are applauding his previous comments in support of maintaining access to federal public lands.

Still, his stance on public lands has come into question after he voted in favor of a House rule that would allow federal land transfers to be considered cost-free and budget-neutral.

Still, 17 Democrats voted for Zinke's confirmation, in part because he was willing to break with Trump during his confirmation hearing and admit that global warming is not a "hoax".

Senate Energy Committee chairman Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, called Zinke's nomination "solid" and emphasized the new secretary's passion for hunting and fishing.

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Zinke, 55, was a U.S. Navy SEAL before entering a life in politics.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Zinke at Interior should "concern every lover of our great and grand national parks". Ben Carson. That procedural move clears the way for a final vote on his nomination. Zinke had been considering a 2018 run against Tester, a two-term Democrat.

Zinke said he would review the designations and make proposals to Trump.

Zinke also pledges to tackle an estimated $12 billion backlog in maintenance and fix at national parks and stand firm against attempts to sell, give away or transfer federal lands.

U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke said in his confirmation hearing last month he would consider an expansion of energy drilling and mining on federal lands but would ensure that sensitive areas were protected.

  • Toni Ryan