December 15, 2018

Udall Statement on Resignation of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, released the following statement after President Trump announced Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s resignation: 

“Ryan Zinke pledged to lead the Interior Department in the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt, but unfortunately, he proudly carried the torch for the Trump administration’s campaign of relentless attacks on our public lands, waters, Tribal sovereignty, and the environment. He leaves behind a legacy of repeatedly putting the interests of industry ahead of the people and the land that it was his job to safeguard. 

“The next Interior Secretary must understand and value the purpose of this critical agency, and live up to its mission to protect and manage our gravely threatened public lands, waters, environment, and wildlife. We need an Interior Secretary who doesn’t just listen to corporate lobbyists and donors, but who will closely consult with Tribes and listen to the overwhelming majority of the American people who want to see our land and environment protected.  

“Unfortunately, even with Secretary Zinke’s resignation, the Trump Interior Department appears poised to continue its destructive, special-interests first agenda. If the president intends to nominate David Bernhardt to lead the agency, Mr. Bernhardt must come before the Senate to be fully vetted for this position so that his many serious conflicts of interest can be examined and brought to light. And whoever leads the Interior Department going forward must be held to the highest ethical standards to ensure they are putting the public interest first.”