Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke leaving at year's end. Will he depart on the horse he rode in on?
The swaggering guy who commanded his staff to fly an obscure Department of Interior flag with a bison seal every time he was in the office, a guy who ordered the minting of Interior coins with his name on them, a guy who spent tax money on questionable private jet travel together with his wife, a guy who has been involved in a Halliburton development plan for his tiny hometown, a guy who rode roughshod over ethical rules to become the subject of 18 investigations for mixing private and public business and other lapses, will depart his post at the end of this year.
The announcement came this morning the way Donald Trump loves to deliver them: via Twitter. “Secretary of the Interior @RyanZinke will be leaving the Administration at the end of the year after having served for a period of almost two years. Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation.”
xWildlife across the US upon hearing of Zinke's departure. #ByeZinke pic.twitter.com/9gheiUkjgI— Sierra Club (@SierraClub) December 15, 2018
One service Zinke has definitely accomplished during his tenure is his deep kowtow to the extractive industries. With his reviews recommending the shrinking of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase national monuments established or expanded by President Obama, and the opening of additional millions of acres of public lands to drilling and mining, Zinke made happy many conservative state officials and the oil and gas industry. But this upset western conservationists who had supported his 2008 Montana Senate race upset and his 2014 race for Congress.
In those days, however, he looked to be that modern rarity, a green-leaning Republican who had the best environmental record of any of his GOP colleagues. But once in Washington, he quickly adopted Donald Trump’s “energy dominance” agenda.
Jimmy Tobias at The Guardian has produced an excellent investigative piece on Zinke.