- Another one of President Trump's cabinet picks edged closer to confirmation, as Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) gained approval from a Senate committee on Tuesday to lead the Department of Interior.
- The Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 16-6 to advance Zinke's nomination, the same day it also approved the former Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry to head the Department of Energy, sending the nomination to the full Senate.
- At his confirmation hearing last month, Zinke told lawmakers he does believe in climate change, while also calling for an "all of the above" energy policy.
Rep. Zinke's take on climate change appears to mirror other Trump nominees, a shift towards acknowledging the planet is warming but with calls for caution when it comes to blaming humans.
Global warming is "not a hoax," he told lawmakers at his confirmation hearing, but added that it's not clear how much humans can do to reverse the course. He called for a wide-ranging energy policy that would embrace clean coal and gas, as well as clean energy technologies.
DOI oversees federal lands that make up about 20% of the U.S. landmass, containing vast amounts of energy reserves. While Zinke stands with his fellow conservatives over increasing energy extraction, he also supports the conservation work in the agency, and is opposed to the sale of any federal lands.
Zinke told Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, that he would support a full review of the DOI's extraction policies in Alaska. "I can guarantee you it is better to produce energy domestically under reasonable regulation than overseas with no regulation," he said.
While Zinke appears headed for confirmation, some Senators have expressed concern.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) challenged him on his climate answer during the confirmation hearing, arguing "the scientific community is almost virtually unanimous that climate change is real and causing devastating problems. ... There is a debate on this committee, but not within the scientific community."