He had a lot of interesting things to say that generally put him within the normal range of political appointees to this position (a nice surprise, given some of Trump’s other nominees), including retaining federal ownership and understanding of climate issues, and this:
An admirer of President Theodore Roosevelt, Zinke said management of federal lands should be done under a “multiple-use” model set forth by Gifford Pinchot, a longtime Roosevelt associate and the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service.
Zinke also pledged to tackle an estimated $12 billion backlog in maintenance and repair at national parks, saying parks and other public lands should be a key part of Trump’s infrastructure improvement plan.
But the former Navy SEAL said his most important task at Interior will be to “restore trust” between the agency and the states and Indian tribes it serves.
“One of the reasons why people want to sell or transfer public land is there’s no trust, because they feel like they don’t have a voice,” Zinke said, referring to elected officials and residents of many Western states. “They feel like they don’t matter. Well, they should matter.”
The question of how much local interests and which local interests should matter to decisions for federal lands has always been a matter of degree and circumstances. For example he might be talking about the “bi-partisan solutions” mentioned by Trout Unlimited. But note the “nuanced” comment from Senator Tester, because “Zinke had last June endorsed a bill handing management of federal lands to state or local governments, while leaving ownership of those lands to the feds.” (We should expect that USDA Forest Service policy under whomever is selected as Secretary would line up with USDI.)