Reactions mixed in Montana regarding Zinke’s nomination as Interior secretary

By Missoula Current

President-elect Donald Trump officially named U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Montana, as his choice to serve as secretary of the interior. Reactions from across Montana ranged from support to concern and are included below.

The Backcountry Hunters & Anglers issued the following statement through its president and CEO Land Tawney:

“Congressman Zinke understands the importance of public lands and balancing management of these important resources with energy development and other uses. As Montana’s lone representative in the House of Representatives, Mr. Zinke has showed himself to be receptive to the interests of a wide range of constituents and a potential ally of sportsmen and other outdoor recreationists.

“Charged with administering significant federal lands and natural resources, the Interior secretary is possibly the most powerful individual in the country when it comes to the future of our cherished public lands and waters, fish and wildlife and outdoor traditions.

“We’re gratified that the Trump administration is listening to our concerns and showing a willingness to act in the best interests of the American people and our irreplaceable public lands legacy.”

The Northern Plains Resource Council issued the following statement through Beth Kaeding of Bozeman:

“Congressman Zinke has worked to shortchange the public on our federal mineral leases and royalties, so it’s an appointment that concerns us. We have joined with thousands across the West to close loopholes for coal companies exporting coal to China and Pacific Rim countries, and he has resisted those reforms to end corporate welfare at the expense of local, state and tribal coffers. He also opposes common-sense efforts to limit the ability of oil and gas companies to intentionally waste taxpayer-owned gas by flaring from oil wells on public lands.”

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, issued the following statement:

“Ryan Zinke protected us abroad and in combat and I know he will do the same for our treasured public lands as Secretary of the Interior. In Congress, I’ve seen Ryan stand up and fight to protect our way of life. As a westerner, Ryan understands the challenges of having the federal government as your largest neighbor and I couldn’t think of a better fit for Secretary of the Interior.”

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, issued the following statement:

“I want to congratulate Congressman Zinke on this high honor. I’m pleased the President-elect nominated someone from the west for a post that’s critically important to Montana’s outdoor economy and way of life. I look forward to sitting down with Congressman Zinke to discuss how we can increase public access to public land, protect our Constitutional right to clean air and water, and uphold our trust responsibilities to Indian Country.”

The Montana Democratic Party issued the following statement through its executive director Nancy Keenan:

“Congressman Zinke has a tremendous responsibility ahead of him in protecting access to our public lands and clean water, and serving Indian Country. But it is important to remember less than 40 days ago, he asked Montana voters to re-hire him to be our voice in the U.S. House. Yet again, his personal ambitions have trumped Montanans decision and voice. We wish him well and will continue to hold all leaders accountable to Montana values. Congressman Zinke is no exception.”