Trump's Cabinet Pick Ryan Zinke Supports Scrapping Obama's Arctic Drilling Ban

But pick says climate change is not a hoax, and humans have influence.

“The president-elect has said we want to be energy independent,” Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Montana, said during his Senate confirmation hearing. “I can guarantee you it is better to produce energy domestically under reasonable regulation, than watch it be produced overseas with no regulation.”

The Obama administration announced its decision last fall, citing environmental concerns and fragile ecosystems in the area.

As secretary of the interior, Zinke would oversee the nation’s public lands and the any fossil fuel extraction on federal property. He today said he supported environmental regulations, but added: “We also have to understand we need an economy. If we don't have an economy as a country, then the rest of it does not matter… Energy is a part of that economy.”

Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, has been viewed by Democrats as relatively moderate on environmental issues compared to some of Trump’s other cabinet selections.

The hearing, for the most part, centered on policy specifics regarding land and water management and the relationship between the federal government and Native American tribes, which also falls under the Department’s purview.

“You described it as ‘locker room talk,’” Duckworth said.

“I take issues of sexual assault and harassment absolutely seriously,” he replied. “As you know as a military commander, the tolerance is zero.”