Quantcast
Connect with us

As Zinke departs, Trump says he will name new interior secretary next week

Published

on

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who has aggressively sought to roll back Obama-era environmental protections, will be leaving his post at the end of the year, President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday, the latest high-profile departure from his administration.

Trump did not give a reason for Zinke’s departure. However, the former Navy Seal and ex-congressman from Montana has faced scrutiny of his use of security details, chartered flights and a real estate deal.

“Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation,” Trump said on Twitter. “The Trump administration will be announcing the new secretary of the Interior next week.”

Zinke has run the Interior Department, which oversees America’s vast public lands, since early 2017. He has aggressively pursued Trump’s agenda to promote oil drilling and coal mining by expanding federal leasing, cutting royalty rates, and easing land protections despite environmental protests.

Zinke, 51, was among Trump’s most active Cabinet members, cutting huge wilderness national monuments in Utah to a fraction of their size and proposing offshore oil drilling in the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic. He became a darling of the U.S. energy and mining industries and a prime target for conservationists and environmental groups.

ADVERTISEMENT

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer welcomed Zinke’s departure in a tweet: “Ryan Zinke was one of the most toxic members of the cabinet in the way he treated our environment, our precious public lands, and the way he treated the govt like it was his personal honey pot.”

“The swamp cabinet will be a little less foul without him,” Schumer said.

Jamie Williams, president of the non-profit Wilderness Society, said he expects Zinke’s deputy and likely successor, David Bernhardt, to continue with the “drill everywhere” agenda.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Deputy Secretary Bernhardt has made it his mission to stifle climate science and silence the public so polluters can profit,” said Williams. “Unfortunately, even with Secretary Zinke out, the Interior Department remains disturbingly biased in favor of special interests over the health of American communities and the public lands that they love.”

Critics have questioned Zinke’s ethics and some of his moves triggered government investigations.

In July, the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General began investigating a Montana land deal between a foundation Zinke set up and a development group backed by the chairman of oil service company Halliburton Co, which has business with the Interior Department.

ADVERTISEMENT

In late October, that investigation was referred to the U.S. Justice Department for a possible criminal investigation, according to multiple media reports. The Department of Justice and the Interior Department have declined to comment.

There are two other investigations of Zinke’s conduct. Interior’s watchdog is examining whether the department purposely redrew the boundaries of Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to benefit a state lawmaker who owns adjoining property.

It is also probing Zinke’s decision to block casinos proposed by two Connecticut Native American tribes. Critics allege he made that move, overruling his staff’s recommendation, shortly after he met with lobbyists for MGM Resorts International, which owns a new casino in the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Zinke has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Earlier this year, Interior’s inspector general wrapped up two other investigations related to Zinke’s travel expenses. Those probes found that a $12,000 private flight he took after a meeting with a professional hockey team could have been avoided and that the security detail he took on a family vacation to Greece and Turkey cost taxpayers $25,000.

Trump, who has repeatedly praised Zinke, said on Nov. 5 that he would look at the allegations.

ADVERTISEMENT

Zinke’s departure makes him the ninth Cabinet-level official to leave since Trump took office two years ago. Other departures have included Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt.


Report typos and corrections to [email protected].

Send confidential news tips to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

BUSTED: Leaked drug exec emails showed them encouraging opioid abuse to the point people would eat them ‘like Doritos’

Published

on

On Friday, the Washington Post published excerpts from a damning series of emails released in a landmark case in Cleveland around the irresponsibility of drug manufacturers and suppliers in contributing to the opioid crisis.

In one email exchange, Victor Borelli, an account manager for pharmaceuticals corporation Mallinckrodt, told KeySource Medical vice president Steve Cochrane that 1,200 bottles of 30mg Oxycodone tablets had been shipped, to which Cochrane replied, "Keep 'em comin'! Flyin' out of there. It's like people are addicted to these things or something. Oh, wait, people are..." and Borelli responded, "Just like Doritos keep eating. We'll make more."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Here’s the ugly racist history behind tipping — and how it still persists today

Published

on

On Saturday, writing for Politico, minister and civil rights activist Rev. Dr. William Barber applauded House Democrats' plans to not only raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024, but eliminate the much lower "tipped wage" of $2.13 an hour and require tipped workers to also be paid at least the minimum.

This is important, wrote Barber, because the roots of businesses forcing their workers to rely on tips for a proper wage is deeply rooted in America's history of racial tension.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Black GOP strategist called on the carpet by Joy Reid for trying to sidestep Trump’s racist rally as ’empowering’ voters

Published

on

An "AM Joy" panel on MSNBC descended into talking over each other as host Joy Reid confronted a black GOP consultant over Donald Trump's racist rally in North Carolina.

Presenting the conservative point of view, Republican strategist Lenny McAllister was asked point-blank by the host, "Lenny, hold on a second, because you as a man of color yourself -- do you feel comfortable in a party that does rallies like that?"

McAllister pushed back saying he had walked away from just those type of events, before admitting, "To the greater point. They're using racism as an avenue through which people feel empowered, they lend you the loyalty, they give you the vote. What Republicans need to do is continue to empower people, but not by using racism and not by using phobia."

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]

Join Me. Try Raw Story Investigates for $1. Invest in Journalism. Escape Ads.
close-image