Montana GOP Rep. Ryan Zinke was confirmed Wednesday as President Trump’s Interior secretary, responsible for more than 400 million acres of public land.
The Republican-controlled Senate voted 68-31 to confirm the two-term House member and former Navy SEAL.
Zinke, during his confirmation hearings in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, promised if given the post to take a “multi-use” approach to federal land that allows recreation like hunting, fishing and hiking along with mining for coal and drilling for oil and natural gas.
The 55-year-old Zinke also vowed to clear the estimated $12 billion backlog in maintenance and repair at national parks. And he vowed to stand firm against pressure to sell or transfer federal lands.
Zinke resigned as a delegate to the Republican National Convention last year to protest the GOP's position in favor of land transfers to state or private groups.
Still, his stance has come into question after he voted in favor of a House rule that would allow federal land transfers to be considered cost-free and budget-neutral.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.