Senate Confirms Zinke to Interior Department, Advances Carson Nomination

Ryan Zinke, a Republican congressman from Montana, was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday to head the Department of Interior. Sixteen Democrats - including Sens.

Mr. Zinke, a Montana Republican and the first Navy SEAL elected to the U.S. House, garnered strong bipartisan support.

The energy industry also applauded Zinke's confirmation.

According to The Washington Post, Zinke will lead the department that manages a fifth of the land in the country, which is about 500 million surface acres.

Energy production on federal lands, largely stalled during President Obama's eight years in office, is expected to be among Mr. Zinke's top priorities. He has been a supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline and voiced opposition to some of the regulations imposed on the oil and gas industry.

Tillerson meets with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi
President Donald Trump on Monday to enhance bilateral high-level exchanges and cooperation in all fields. US Vice President Mike Pence and senior White House advisor Jared Kushner also attended the meeting.

The action also riled participants in the land rights movement.

"Ryan Zinke made his name in Congress as a fossil fuel industry sweetheart who will give private corporations free rein to exploit publicly owned lands for private profit."

Zinke earned a degree in geology from the University of OR in 1984 and joined the military two years later.

Meanwhile, the state Republican, Democratic and Libertarian parties each will nominate candidates to run in the special election. Forty percent of US output comes from federal lands that are mostly in Wyoming and Montana.

Trump's nomination of Zinke drew some criticism from environmental groups, although his path to confirmation was relatively smooth compared to some of the president's other Cabinet nominees. I discussed a variety of New Mexican, Tribal, and Western issues with Congressman Zinke, a fellow Westerner, during the confirmation process to determine his viewpoints and priorities as a potential Interior Secretary.

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