Opinion

NRA: Confirmation of Ryan Zinke a Sound Move

Gun rights group predicts an ‘end of an era of hostility’ towards hunters

Secretary of the Interior nominee Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., returns to his seat after greeting chairwoman Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, before the start of his confirmation hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Jan. 17, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The five million men and women of the National Rifle Association are eager to see Rep. Ryan Zinke confirmed as the 52nd secretary of the Interior. His confirmation will mark the end of an era of hostility toward hunters and sportsmen at the Interior Department.

As a native Montanan, Zinke has a deep appreciation for wildlife and conservation. In addition, he understands the importance of public land access for all hunters and outdoorsmen.

The fact is that hunters are America’s true conservationists. We know that sound wildlife management is critical in the protection of our natural resources. As a sportsman, Ryan Zinke holds this view. All Americans can trust Rep. Zinke to manage our lands and wildlife through sound science, not emotion or political agendas.

Environmental extremists are opposing Zinke’s nomination, claiming that he is anti-environment. This is nothing more than hysterical hyperbole. Rep. Zinke understands that we can have clean air, clean water and pristine public lands while also protecting hunting, recreational shooting, fishing and wildlife conservation. He has supported legislation that would restore common sense to our nation’s wildlife management policies, something that is sorely needed after eight years of overreach by the Obama administration.

Opposition to Zinke’s confirmation has little to do with true conservation efforts and everything to do with ending lawful activities his critics don’t like. Rather than be swayed by emotional and misinformed arguments, Zinke will be dedicated to the pursuit of true conservation and will steer the Interior Department in a positive direction for millions of hunters and sportsmen.

Having an interior secretary intent on preserving America’s longstanding hunting heritage for current and future generations will be a welcome change. This an issue of utmost importance for the NRA’s members and tens of millions of supporters, so it’s important for all hunters and sportsmen to urge their U.S. Senators to vote to confirm Ryan Zinke as our next Secretary of the Interior.

Chris W. Cox is the executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. Prior to joining the NRA, he served as a senior legislative aide in Congress.

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