Quantcast
Connect with us

Trump Interior nominee Ryan Zinke would review Obama’s limits on oil drilling

Published

on

President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to run the Department of the Interior, Representative Ryan Zinke of Montana, said on Tuesday he would consider scrapping some of President Barack Obama’s environment initiatives if confirmed, including reviewing curbs on oil drilling on federal lands.

“Yes,” he said in response to a question from Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska during his confirmation hearing about whether he would review drilling curbs imposed by Obama’s administration in her state.

“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. “We need an economy.”

The Interior Department oversees territories covering a fifth of the United States’ surface from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico, including sensitive wildlife habitats, iconic landscapes, rich deposits of oil, gas and coal and important pasturelands for ranchers.

Zinke, a former Navy SEAL commander and an avid hunter and angler, emerged as a surprise pick to head the department in part because he has embraced federal stewardship of national parks, forests and refuges. This diverges from the Republican Party’s official position to sell off acreage to states that might prioritize development.

But as a congressman he has also fought for increased energy development on federal lands, a position that has worried conservationists and which fits neatly with Trump’s vows to bolster the U.S. energy sector by scaling back regulation and opening up more publicly held land.

ADVERTISEMENT

Over the last eight years, the Interior Department has sought to limit industry access to federal lands and played a key role in Obama’s agenda to combat climate change, as it proposed rules aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions from energy production on federal land.

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 of federal property as national monuments. But he said that any move Trump made to rescind a designation would immediately be challenged.

He did not comment directly on whether he would seek to reverse Obama’s federal coal-lease ban, but said he believed coal plays an important part in the U.S. energy mix.

ADVERTISEMENT

As a first-term congressman, Zinke pushed to end the coal-lease moratorium, saying it had resulted in closed mines and job cuts, and he introduced a bill expanding tax credits for coal-burning power plants that bury carbon dioxide underground.

Zinke was the first of three Cabinet heads Trump has chosen to oversee his environment and energy portfolio to face Senate scrutiny this week, all three of which have opposed Obama’s measures to combat global climate change by targeting carbon dioxide emissions.

Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, was to testify on Wednesday, and Trump’s choice for Energy secretary, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, was to testify on Thursday.

‘ADMIRER OF TEDDY ROOSEVELT’

ADVERTISEMENT

Zinke told committee members that he would also support efforts by the U.S. Congress to cancel recent regulation imposed by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management aimed at preventing leaks of methane – another gas scientists blame for climate change – from oil and gas installations.

Zinke said he believes humans contribute to global climate change but that there is still debate over the degree to which humans have an impact, and what should be done about it.

“I do not think it is a hoax,” he said.

Before running for the White House, Trump called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to weaken U.S. businesses, a position he has since defended.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 also reiterated his commitment to keeping federal lands under federal control to ensure they are preserved for future generations, so “my granddaughter’s children can look back and say that we did it right.”

He added, 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 like recreation, energy, and timber that depend on access to public acreage.

(Writing by Richard Valdmanis; editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

Obsessed Trump: ‘Only fake polls show us behind’ Democrats. Fox News: 5 Dems would beat him

Published

on

President Donald Trump is obsessed with polls – but not facts – and increasingly so. He just fired his internal pollsters after leaked internal poll numbers show devastating lossesfor Trump in key battleground states.

Continue Reading

CNN

If Trump really believed he was falsely accused ‘that is not a corrupt motive’ for removing the special counsel: Bill Barr

Published

on

Attorney General William Barr told Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that if President Donald Trump really and truly thought he was being falsely accused of collaborating with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election, that it was "not a corrupt motive" for firing Robert Mueller, a stunning statement from the nation's highest law enforcement officer.

"As a matter of law, I think the department's position would be that the president can direct the termination or the replacement of a special counsel," said Barr. "And as a matter of law, the obstruction statute does not reach that conduct."

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

Trump ‘shirking his duty to protect the country’ by ignoring Russia election threat: Ex-CIA agent

Published

on

Ex-CIA agent Evan McMullin told CNN on Wednesday that President Donald Trump was "shirking his duty to protect the country" by ignoring the fact that Russia plans to attack the 2020 election.

"He's shirking his responsibility to protect the country," McMullin said. "We are in a new era of information warfare."

"Countries can be defeated without a shot being fired," he went on. "We just learned from the Mueller report that the president was aware that we were undergoing, as a country, an information warfare attack during 2016. He sought to benefit from it."

"A lot of times we say 'look, the president's ego is wounded' when we talk about how the Russians attacked us, and may have helped him get elected," McMullin continued. "But I actually think that we are a little naive to buy into that narrative. I think that is a fig leaf for the president. How can we ignore that this president barely won the electoral college?"

Continue Reading
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

I need your help.

Investigating Trump's henchmen is a full time job, and I'm trying to bring in new team members to do more exclusive reports. We have more stories coming you'll love. Join me and help restore the power of hard-hitting progressive journalism.

TAKE A LOOK
close-link

Investigating Trump is a full-time job, and I want to add new team members to do more exclusive reports. We have stories coming you'll love. Join me and go ad-free, while restoring the power of hard-hitting progressive journalism.

TAKE A LOOK
close-link