Trump names Montana Congressman Zinke to lead Interior Dept

December 15, 2016 17:38

WASHINGTON - US President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday formally announced that Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke, a former Navy SEAL commander and a proponent of coal development on federal lands, as his choice for secretary of the interior.

If the Senate confirms Zinke, he will head the Interior Department, which employs more than 70,000 people across the country and oversees more than 20 percent of federal land, including national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite.As a single-term Republican U.S. Representative, Zinke took several stances favoring coal, a fossil fuel that suffered during the administration of President Barack Obama as use of natural gas and renewable energy soared.

Zinke, 55, pushed to end a moratorium on federal coal leases on public lands by 2019, saying it had resulted in closed mines and job cuts.

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