Embattled Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke steps down after series of scandals

The interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, is stepping down. /Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters


Zinke has been accused of using his position for personal gain. Trump: ‘I want to thank him for his service to our nation’

By Emily Holden in Washington and Oliver Milman | The Guardian

Donald Trump’s embattled interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, is stepping down, following a series of scandals in which he is accused of using his position for personal gain.

Trump tweeted that Zinke would “be leaving the administration at the end of the year after having served for a period of almost two years”. Trump added that Zinke had “accomplished much during his tenure” and that a new secretary of the interior would be announced next week.

Zinke becomes the latest official to leave Trump’s cabinet in an exodus following the 6 November midterm elections.

Under Zinke’s leadership, the interior department has sought to advance oil and gas drilling and mining on or near public land, rolled back protections for threatened species and shrunk national monuments.

“Zinke’s days of plundering our lands and enriching himself and his friends are over,” said Nicole Ghio, senior fossil fuels program manager for Friends of the Earth.

“With an average of nearly one federal investigation opened into his conduct in office per month, Zinke’s highly questionable ethics have finally caught up with him. Now, he is just another name on Trump’s list of disgraced cabinet officials, which the Republican-led Congress has failed to hold accountable.”


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December 2018