Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Trump Interior Nominee Would Review Obama's Limits on Oil Drilling

President-elect Donald Trump's pick to run the Department of the Interior, Representative Ryan Zinke of Montana, said during his confirmation hearing on Tuesday that he would review President Barack Obama's moves to limit oil and gas drilling in Alaska and some other parts of the country if confirmed.
“Yes,” he said in response to a question from Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska about whether he would review drilling limits on federal land in her state as head of the department.
“The president-elect has said that we want to be energy independent. I can guarantee you it is better to produce energy domestically under reasonable regulation than overseas with no regulation," he said.
...Obama's Interior Department banned new coal mining leases on federal property early in 2016. More recently the agency placed parts of the offshore Arctic and Atlantic off-limits to drilling and declared national monuments that protect large parts of Utah and Nevada from development.
Zinke said he believed Trump could “amend” Obama's moves to declare millions of acres as national monuments.
...Zinke also said during his hearing that he believes that humans contribute to global climate change but that there is still debate over what should be done about it.
“I do not think it is a hoax,” he said.
...In his opening remarks, Zinke struck a moderate tone, saying that he recognizes that some federal lands require strong protection. He also called himself an “unapologetic admirer of Teddy Roosevelt,” a former Republican president who pioneered public land conservation.
He said, however, that “a preponderance” of U.S. federal lands are better suited for “multiple use using best practices, sustainable policies and objective science” — a nod to U.S. industries that depend on access to public acreage.

For those interested, Chairman Murkowski's press release is here, Ranking Member Cantwell's is here, and I've embedded Zinke's testimony below.

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