Today the Senate voted 68-31 to confirm Representative Ryan Zinke of Montana as the next Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The Department of the Interior is responsible for the management and conservation of the vast majority of Americas public lands and natural resources including hundreds of millions of acres of national parks, wIldlife refuges and BLM lands across the west.
For Trout Unlimited members and sportsmen and women across the country, there are few roles as important as Secretary of the Interior for ensuring responsible stewardship of these national treasures and our fishing and hunting heritage, said Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited. From energy development and leasing on BLM lands, to regulation and reclamation of surface mining operations, to management and support of western water infrastructure and distribution networks, the Department of the Interior oversees lands and resources that will determine the future of our nations outdoor traditions. Only through careful management will we have robust populations of fish and wildlife and healthy places to hunt and fish for generations to come.
During confirmation hearings, Zinke made it clear he supported keeping public land ownership in the hands of the public, noting he was absolutely against the transfer or sale of public lands. Department of the Interior manages about 75 percent of public lands in the country.
Keeping public lands public is crucial, says Corey Fisher, senior policy director for Trout Unlimiteds Sportsmens Conservation Project, but sportsmen and women must remain engaged on key issues that impact their hunting and fishing.
The challenges facing our public lands are much different than they were 110 years ago during Teddy Roosevelts Administration, but the need for science-based decisions, citizen involvement, and protecting and restoring fish and wildlife habitat have not changed, said Fisher. We remain committed to working with Secretary Zinke to ensure that the management of our public lands is guided by these core principles. We applaud Secretary Zinke on his confirmation as the next Interior Secretary and we look forward to working with he and his agency team in the years to come.