Interior Nominee Zinke Poses Serious Threat to Wildlife Conservation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 14, 2016


Haley McKey, 202-772-0247, 571-480-2113

Jennifer Witherspoon, 202-772-0269,


WASHINGTON (December 14, 2016) – President-elect Donald Trump has nominated U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke for Secretary of the Interior. After the president, the Secretary of the Interior has more power than anyone else in government over the nation's wildlife, public lands, and natural resources. 

The following is a statement from CEO and President of Defenders of Wildlife, Jamie Rappaport Clark (Twitter: @JClarkprez): 

“What a disappointment!  We are seriously concerned by the nomination of Ryan Zinke for the role of Secretary of the Interior. Rep. Zinke’s legislative record reveals an alarming pattern of hostility toward wildlife and public lands during his short career as a congressman.

“Rep. Zinke has consistently supported harmful, anti-wildlife legislation that would severely undermine the Endangered Species Act and remove or block protections for hundreds of imperiled species, including gray wolves and greater sage-grouse.  

“He has co-sponsored legislation that would have overturned an unprecedented multi-state, collaborative stakeholder agreement to conserve the greater sage-grouse and that would have effectively transferred oversight of 60 million acres of federal lands to the states.

“While  Rep. Zinke is on record  opposing the outright sale of federal lands and supporting needed funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund,  his legislative record reveals targeted attacks on our public lands. He has repeatedly promoted increased logging, drilling, grazing and mining on federal lands throughout the country.

“He has consistently voted to promote energy development at the expense of wildlife. In short, Rep. Zinke does not appear to appreciate the values that the Department of the Interior is charged with protecting for the benefit of all Americans.

“The Secretary of the Interior should cherish America’s public lands and work mightily to sustain America’s wildlife, for the benefit of all Americans and for our children to come. But Rep. Zinke’s record speaks for itself, and we firmly believe that he is unsuitable for the job.”


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

You may also be interested in:

In the Magazine
Big Cypress teems with wildlife and is a refuge for the critically endangered Florida panther. But the roads here make it a dangerous place for the big cats, with vehicle collisions one of the leading causes of death.