US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is leaving his post at the end of the year, President Donald Trump says, in the latest high profile departure from his administration.
The interior department oversees federal land, including national parks such as Yosemite and Yellowstone.
Mr Zinke has faced scrutiny over expensive trips in US Park Police helicopters and on private jets.
Costly alterations at his department also came in for criticism, including reports that three sets of double doors in his office were being upgraded at a cost of nearly $139,000 (£110,000). He later said he had negotiated the price down to $75,000.
The New York Times has also published a guide to the investigations into Mr Zinke.
According to the newspaper, he is facing scrutiny for blocking a Native American casino expansion after meetings with lobbyists opposing the plan, and for possible breaches of the Hatch Act – which stops federal employees from influencing elections by using their office.
Source: BBC – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-46580094
Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump announced Saturday morning that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will depart from his administration at the end of the year.
The departure comes amid multiple ethics investigations into Zinke as well as a staff shake-up among Trump administration officials, including the President’s chief of staff. Trump announced Friday that his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, will become his acting chief of staff, replacing John Kelly, at the end of the year.
The Washington Post reported Saturday that administration officials said the White House had been pushing Zinke to resign for weeks and that he was told he had until year’s end to leave or he would be fired. Citing two people familiar with the discussion, The New York Times also reported that Kelly’s team had told Zinke that he might risk a potentially humiliating firing if he didn’t leave his post by the end of the year.
After Zinke Resignation, Industry Lobbyists Will Lead Country’s Top Two Environmental Agencies
The resignation of Ryan Zinke as head of the Interior Department is opening to way for a man who has long advocated for the industry he now regulates to take over the department, at least temporarily. And that means that the top two agencies that deal with the environment in the United States government will be run by men who were once paid by the industry they must now regulate, notes the Guardian. Zinke’s number two, David Bernhardt, will take over as secretary of the interior when he steps down at the end of the year. Although it’s a temporary appointment for now it could very well become permanent. After all, that’s what happened with Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, who will be nominated to maintain the post he has been holding as acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Bernhardt has long been seen as the man behind the scenes at Interior to run the president’s deregulation agenda. “Bernhardt has been running the policy show ever since he’s been there as deputy secretary,” Kathleen Sgamma, the president of the Western Energy Alliance, told the New York Times.
Prior to his life in government, Berhardt was a lobbyist for the oil, gas, and water industries, all of which are subject to decisions from Interior.
WAV Comment – well how about that ? – Berhardt was a lobbyist for the oil, gas, and water industries. Impartial obviously !