Published: Sun, December 16, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Ryan Zinke out as Interior Secretary

Ryan Zinke out as Interior Secretary

Gov. Scott Walker is among the contenders being considered as a replacement for outgoing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, reports Bloomberg.

Zinke, a former Republican congressman from Montana, is leaving weeks before Democrats take control of the House, a shift in power that promised to intensify probes into his conduct.

He says a new interior secretary would be appointed next week.

The departure follows Trump's announcement on December 8 that Chief of Staff John Kelly would be leaving at the end of this year, as well, adding another White House staffer to the administration's long string of departures.

He pushed to develop oil, natural gas and coal beneath public lands in line with the administration's business-friendly aims.

"Zinke had championed using federal lands to pursue USA "energy dominance", and that agenda will be continued by his likely successor as acting Interior Secretary: David Bernhardt, the agency's No. 2 official".

Earlier this year, Interior's inspector general wrapped up two other investigations relating to Zinke's travel expenses.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer applauded Mr Zinke's departure in a tweet.

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Zinke has been embroiled in allegations of ethics violations.

Zinke, a former Navy SEAL who wore cowboy boots to the office and carried himself with a Western swagger, seemed to emulate Trump when under fire, lashing back rather than retreating.

Grijalva spokesman Adam Sarvana said Saturday that committee leaders still meant to ask for Zinke's testimony.

"Zinke will go down as the worst Interior secretary in history", said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement released Saturday.

His exit will be the latest in a series of high-profile departures from Trump's administration.

But Sarvana said the House Natural Resources Committee still intends to ask for Zinke's testimony.

Others include attorney-general Jeff Sessions, who resigned on November 7 after months of criticism by Mr Trump for recusing himself from a federal investigation into whether Mr Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation during the 2016 election.

The president has hinted that other staff moves were on the way, although he said he said that for the most part he "loves" his Cabinet secretaries.

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