Zinke Confirmation Applauded by Sheep Leaders
March 3, 2017

The Senate confirmed Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke as Interior Secretary in a 68-31 vote, putting him in charge of managing 400 million acres of Western lands, much of that critical to ranchers and energy interests, and enforcing the Endangered Species Act. Zinke was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence Wednesday evening.

Public Lands Council President Dave Eliason said having a Secretary of Interior who understands public lands and who values true cooperation with stakeholders is in the best interest of all Americans.

"Secretary Zinke is from the West and understands the unique challenges faced by communities with a large federal footprint," Eliason said. "We look forward to working with him and his staff at the Department of the Interior to restore the role of local input in planning and review processes, fix laws like the Endangered Species Act and protect grazing rights that are so critical to western economies."

Zinke, a second-term representative and former Navy SEAL commander, has been a strong proponent of multiple-use on federal lands and a supporter of American Sheep Industry Association's affiliate, the Montana Wool Growers Association. The Department of the Interior holds jurisdiction over a number of issues of importance for the sheep industry, including the Endangered Species Act, sage grouse management, BLM permitting and allotments, and can play an immense role in ensuring sound-science is considered before removing domestic sheep allotments in preference to bighorn sheep habitat.

ASI, a PLC member, supported the confirmation of Zinke.