Trump Reportedly Pivots to Zinke for Interior Post Central

zinke 12 14U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March. Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr

President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate first-term U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., a former Navy SEAL who is champion of the coal industry and a climate science denier, as Interior secretary, according to multiple news reports.

Trump had reportedly considered U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., for the job last week, but has offered the job to Zinke, instead, according to the Associated Press and Reuters.

Zinke has said he considers himself a conservationist but is skeptical of climate science.

“It’s not a hoax, but it’s not proven science either,” Zinke falsely told the Billings Gazette in 2014. “But you don’t dismantle America’s power and energy on a maybe. We need to to be energy independent first. We need to do it better, which we can, but it is not a settled science.”

During a 2014 congressional candidate debate in Montana, Zinke said he believes humans have “had an influence” on higher atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, but other factors including “rising ocean temperatures” have a greater influence, according to the Missoulian newspaper.

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