Ryan Zinke to step down as Interior secretary

By Laura Bies

Ryan Zinke will leave his post as Interior Secretary early in the new year. ©Gage Skidmore

President Trump announced late last week that Ryan Zinke plans to leave his position as secretary of the Interior. Zinke, a former Navy SEAL and congressman from Montana, was confirmed in March 2017.

Several investigations into Zinke’s spending and management, including an Office of Government Ethics inquiry and an investigation by the Interior’s Inspector General that was turned over to the Justice Department, led to the resignation.

“I love working for the President and am incredibly proud of all the good work we’ve accomplished together,” Zinke said in a Twitter post. “However, after 30 years of public service, I cannot justify spending thousands of dollars defending myself and my family against false allegations.”

Zinke’s last day as secretary will be Jan. 2. According to the president, the administration will announce its nominee for his replacement this week. That nomination will need to be confirmed by the Senate.

Zinke’s departure comes as key positions within Interior are still in the process of being filled. Aurelia Skipwith was nominated as director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in October but has not yet been confirmed. In April, Zinke nominated Susan Combs as Interior’s acting assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, but she has not been confirmed either. If Congress does not act upon these nominations before it adjourns at the end of the year, the nominations will have to be submitted again next year

Laura BiesLaura Bies is a government relations contractor and freelance writer for The Wildlife Society. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science and a law degree from George Washington University. Laura has worked with The Wildlife Society since 2005. Read more of Laura's articles.

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