Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Interior Nominee Zinke Doubles Down on Coal

Interior Secretary nominee Ryan Zinke. (Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr) Click to Enlarge.
During his confirmation hearing Tuesday, Interior secretary nominee Ryan Zinke emphasized the incoming Trump administration’s vow to recommit America to fossil fuels development while disregarding renewables and the need to act on climate change.

Zinke said climate change is not the hoax Trump has said it is, but he falsely claimed the science around it is uncertain, and said that federal energy policy, which determines how the Interior Department manages energy and public land, should heavily favor coal.

If confirmed, Zinke, a second-term congressman from Montana and former Navy SEAL, would oversee all the nation’s national parks and more than 500 million acres of federal public lands, mostly in the West.  He would be responsible for all the coal mining, fracking, and oil drilling on public lands and waters off of all U.S. coastlines, and for permitting all new offshore wind power development.

Trump vowed during his campaign to breathe new life into America’s coal industry, which he said has been hit too hard by environmental and climate regulations.  In reality, coal is in decline mainly because of cheap natural gas, which electric power companies are beginning to use more than coal to generate electricity.

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