Skip to content

Heinrich Supports Confirmation Of Ryan Zinke For Interior Secretary, Highlights Importance Of Keeping Public Lands Public

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, voted in support of Secretary of the Interior nominee U.S. Congressman Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.).

“While we are clearly not going to agree on every issue, I believe it's very important to have a Westerner in this role -- particularly one who is committed to keeping public lands in public hands. In the West, our livelihoods are rooted in our open spaces. Families have long histories of using our public lands for hiking, hunting, fishing, and other outdoor traditions, both new and old. Without access to our public lands, those opportunities would disappear as well as the tourism dollars they bring to local businesses,” said Heinrich. “I am committed to holding the Department of Interior and Representative Zinke accountable in how they plan to safeguard America’s public lands, address climate change, promote outdoor recreation, and protect tribal sovereignty. The Department of Interior also plays a critical role in New Mexico’s water infrastructure and we must ensure we are managing our water resources in a smart way that ensures sustainable, clean water for our communities and the environment.”

During Zinke's confirmation hearing in January, Heinrich questioned Zinke on the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act, a bill he introduced to prohibit the exporting of sacred Native American items and increase penalties for stealing and illegally trafficking tribal cultural patrimony.

Heinrich also pressed Zinke on his views on the Antiquities Act and increasing access to public lands for hunting and fishing. He highlighted the diverse and overwhelming community support for the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte National Monuments in New Mexico and submitted letters from veterans, sportsmen, small business owners, and faith leaders to the record. Last month, Heinrich held a community event in Taos with tribal leaders from the Taos Pueblo, local small businesses, veterans, conservationists, and many others to celebrate and stand up for the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and all of New Mexico's public lands.