Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Interior pick walks fine line on climate, highlights conservation

Rep. Ryan Zinke, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next secretary of Interior, used his confirmation hearing Tuesday to repeatedly highlight his record on conservation, while walking a fine line on the hot-button issue of climate change. Montana’s sole congressman sought to compare himself to President Teddy Roosevelt and his strong conservation agenda, while saying he’ll ensure that fossil fuel production on federal land still have a place. “Without question, our public lands are America’s treasure and are rich in diversity,” Zinke said. “We need an economy and jobs too,” Zinke said when pressed on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “And in my experience of probably seeing 63 different countries, I’ve seen what happens when you don’t have regulations.” Zinke sought to contrast his positions against those of the GOP on key questions, specifically the transfer of federal land to state or private control. “I want to be clear on this point: I am absolutely against transfer or sale of public land. I can’t be any more clear,” he said. When pressed on a vote this month in favor of a House rules package to make it easier to transfer public land, Zinke downplayed the legislation, saying if the land provision were put up for a vote by itself, he would vote against it. Zinke’s answers seemed to please the Republicans on the committee...more

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