January 31, 2017

Wyden Abstains from Voting on Zinke Nomination to be Secretary of the Interior


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today released the following statement after abstaining from voting on the nomination of Rep. Ryan Zinke to lead the U.S. Department of the Interior:

“Today I abstained from voting on Representative Zinke because Oregonians need clarification on recent news reports that indicate he may be interested in moving the management of all the nation’s forests into the Department of the Interior, including those currently managed by the U.S. Forest Service,” Wyden said.

“After sixteen years, two administrations, and at least two different management plans, the Department of the Interior has yet to successfully implement a management plan for the 2.8 million acres of the O&C forests. If he is confirmed as Interior secretary, Representative Zinke should focus first on managing these forests rather than forcing our communities to wait years for the administration to reorganize forest management. Instead of wasting time and taxpayer dollars, what’s needed is effective, balanced forest management. The U.S. Forest Service, which manages 193 million acres, already faces a major backlog in forest management.

“Before I vote on Representative Zinke’s nomination I need answers from him about whether he intends to divert his attention if he is confirmed as Secretary of the Interior from managing Oregon’s forests to reshuffling bureaucracies.

Wyden is the former chair of and a senior Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.