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Rep. Ryan Zinke, right, R-Mont., arrives in Trump Tower, in New York, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Ryan Zinke was confirmed as Trump's new Secretary of the Interior


Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) was confirmed by the Senate as President Trump's Secretary of the Interior Wednesday morning. 

Zinke had previously defended public access to federal lands, though he is not in favor of giving the land back to the states. He was also an early Trump supporter on the campaign trail.

In the past, Zinke criticized the Department of Interior for a rule that aimed to curb methane releases from oil and gas operations on federal lands, according to The Washington Post.

Zinke was confirmed by a comfortable margin.

Zinke is a former Navy SEAL who rose to the rank of Commander. He was awarded four Meritorious Service Medals, an Army Commendation Medal, two Bronze Stars, two Joint Service Commendation Medals and two Defense Meritorious Service Medals. He also established the Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command, which provides training to Navy SEALs.

Following his military service, Zinke became a Montana State Senator. 

Trump nominated Zinke for Secretary of the Interior on December 13. In his new post he'll be charged with overseeing all federal lands, the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as drilling and mining on federal lands. 

Zinke has drawn the ire of environmentalists, earning a 4 percent lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters.


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