February 1, 2017

Ryan Zinke to be Secretary of the Interior

  • Ryan Zinke has a lifelong career serving our country and experience with land and energy issues that make him primed to lead the Department of the Interior.
  • Zinke pledged to restore DOI trust with state, local, and tribal partners and support responsible multiple use of federal lands.
  • President Obama had his first DOI secretary confirmed on inauguration day; Zinke received solid bipartisan support at his committee hearing and vote.  


Ryan Zinke is currently the sole representative for Montana in the U.S. House of Representatives. Previously, Rep. Zinke served in the Montana state Senate and spent 23 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL, retiring with the rank of commander. He is a fifth-generation Montanan and adopted member of the Assiniboine Sioux Tribe at the Fort Peck Reservation in northeast Montana. He holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Oregon, a master’s in business finance from National University, and a master’s in global leadership from the University of San Diego. 

Senate Action

The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a confirmation hearing for Rep. Zinke on January 17. On January 31, the committee reported Rep. Zinke’s nomination favorably by a solid bipartisan vote of 16 to 6.


As a lifelong westerner and member of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Zinke has in-depth knowledge of the need to both conserve and embrace responsible multiple use of federal lands. In his opening statement, he outlined three immediate goals for DOI: “restoring trust” with state, local, and tribal partners; addressing the backlog of maintenance and repair at national parks; and ensuring “professionals on the front line, our rangers and field managers, have the right tools, right resources, and flexibility to make the right decisions.”

Zinke had a smooth confirmation hearing during which he articulated a vast understanding of the mission of DOI and its bureaus, and pledged to carry out this mission in an open, collaborative manner. He has received overwhelming bipartisan support and should be confirmed expeditiously. President Obama had his first DOI secretary confirmed on inauguration day. 

Issue Tag: Energy