Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has called himself a geologist at least 40 times — but he’s not
Rep. Ryan Zinke (Poto: Facebook)

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke tried to justify his decision to decrease Bears Ear National Monument by claiming that he is a scientist and thus he knows better.


According to CNN, Zinke told lawmakers, "I'm a geologist. I can assure you that oil and gas in Bears Ears was not part of my decision matrix. A geologist will tell you there is little, if any, oil and gas."

This marks at least the 40th time Zinke has made the claim, including the times he was under oath before Congress. While Zinke has a Bachelor of Science degree in geology from the University of Oregon, the degree does not equate the position, no more than having a Bachelors in pre-med makes someone a doctor.

"I can tell you, from a geologist, offshore mining of sand is enormously destructive environmentally, as in comparison to seismic," Zinke told the House Natural Resources Committee in.

In an interview with Breitbart, Zinke justified his exclusion of Florida from offshore drilling by saying, "Florida is different in the currents -- I'm a geologist -- it's different in geology."

"I'm a geologist," Zinke said during a Senate Appropriations hearing June 2017. "And I don't consider myself a genius, but I'm a pretty smart guy."

He's used the credential to claim he's an expert capable of discussing anything from coal revenue, earthquake activity, climate change, national monuments, endangered species and fracking and drilling, CNN cited.

He even had the chutzpah to attack actual scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey, saying, "I think the assessments of the USGS has done previous, I think they fall short, from a geologist's point of view."

In his autobiography, Zinke confessed that he went to the University of Oregon on a football scholarship and picked his major at random.

"I studied geology as a result of closing my eyes and randomly pointing to a major from the academic catalog, and I never looked back. I am just glad I did not find electronics," he wrote.

After graduating, Zinke went into the Navy to become a SEAL. After, he went into business and politics, never once worked as a geologist.

"Ryan Zinke graduated with honors with a B.S. in geology. His intended career path was underwater geology - and he had college jobs to support that career," Zinke's office said in a statement. "Upon graduation he was recruited to be an officer in the US Navy SEALs where he proudly served for 23 years and retired with the rank of Commander."

CNN asked if Zinke was ever a member of the American Institute of Professional Geologists or the Association of the State Board of Geologists. They refused to answer.

"He seems not to be familiar with modern geologic knowledge," said Northwestern University geology professor Seth Stein. "In particular, geologists now know that the climate is warming rapidly because of human activities. This is is causing many serious problems including rising sea level, which is a major threat to coastal communities."