Target: Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader
Goal: Block the confirmation of Rep. Ryan Zinke, a fossil fuel industry beneficiary with a poor voting record, for Secretary of the Interior.
Rep. Ryan Zinke, Trump’s nominee to head the Department of the Interior, is being touted as a rational choice to lead the department with responsibility for conservation of public lands, national parks and administration of programs benefitting Native Americans. Rep. Zinke’s supporters point to his belief in man-made climate change, stated respect for Native American sovereignty, and commitment not to privatize federal lands as evidence of a moderate philosophy. Unfortunately, the Congressman’s legislative record, campaign funding sources and support for large-scale energy projects call into question what his guiding principles and priorities will be as Interior Secretary.
The oil and gas industry contributed over $350,000 to Zinke’s 2014 campaign for U.S. Representative, signaling their allegiance to his positions on fossil fuel interests. His voting record while in Congress has consistently favored those industries, even while undercutting his own verbal statements. For example, he expressed admiration for the commitment of Teddy Roosevelt to natural resource conservation, yet sponsored a bill which would ease restrictions on pipeline development in national parks and remove protections for Native Americans in the construction of hydroelectric dams. In stark contrast to the firm pledge “not to privatize public lands,” he supported a bill which would allow for portions of public land to be transferred for private use under state authority. Finally, Zinke has stated under oath his respect for Native American sovereignty and treaty rights, but was a strong supporter of both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines which would endanger treaty-protected lands, and were vigorously opposed by tribes nationwide.
It seems clear, based on the above evidence, that Rep. Zinke will act in the best interests of fossil fuel companies and at the expense of our natural resources, federal lands and the treaty rights of Native Americans. Please sign the below petition urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to vote against his confirmation for Secretary of the Interior.
Dear Senator McConnell,
I am writing to encourage you to vote against Rep. Zinke for Secretary of the Interior, and to urge fellow republicans to do the same. His legislative record points to a pattern of supporting fossil fuel interests over conservation, protection of federal lands, and treaty rights of Native Americans.
The more than one million acres of federally-owned land in your home state of Kentucky deserve a more committed steward. Please set an example for your Republican colleagues in the Senate by voting against his confirmation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore