Thursday, November 09, 2017

Zinke asks Senate to hurry up on confirming nominees such as Office of Surface Mining chief

Fed up with long wait times to confirm Interior Department nominees, Secretary Ryan Zinke is pressuring Senate leaders to hurry up. "In a bluntly worded letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Zinke voiced unhappiness over the 'senseless and unexplainable' delays to several pending confirmations," Michael Doyle reports for Energy & Environment News.

Some Trump administration nominees have had holds placed on them by Democratic senators, a delaying tactic not easily tracked. But some Democrats have blamed the long waits on McConnell's floor-scheduling priorities.

It will be interesting to see whether McConnell will take more definitive action now that Kentuckian Steve Gardner is among the nominees. Gardner was nominated Oct. 26 to be the director of the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation & Enforcement. In August OSM yanked a controversial study on the health effects of surface mining in Appalachia. Kentucky is No. 4 in U.S. coal production.

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