- The U.S. Senate confirmed Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) yesterday to lead the Department of Interior in 68-31 vote that pulled more than a dozen Democrats across the aisle.
- President Trump's nominee told lawmakers in January he would support an "all of the above" energy policy including more fossil fuel production on federal lands.
- His opposition to transferring large swaths of public lands to private companies for energy development helped earn him support from conservation groups like the National Wildlife Federation and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, according to The Hill.
Among the cabinet positions to bigly impact energy, President Trump now has two of his three nominees confirmed.
Last month the U.S. Senate confirmed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, a controversial pick that opponents failed to block despite mounting a last-minute campaign to delay the vote.
Zinke's confirmation, by comparison, included no such theatrics and brought 16 Democrats across the aisle.
A similar atmosphere is expected when the Senate turns its attention to former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Energy. That vote is expected late this week or next.
In his confirmation hearing, Zinke called for a wide-ranging energy policy that would embrace clean coal and gas as well as clean energy technologies. He expressed support for some conservation principles, helping him win support from some Democrats and environmental groups, but also said he would support a 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 told Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).