KTUU: Murkowski, Dunleavy respond to Zinke resignation announcement

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is set to depart his position in the administration at the end of the year, according to a tweet sent by President Donald Trump early Saturday.

The president chose Zinke in December 2016 to serve in the cabinet-level position and said in a followup tweet that the White House would announce a replacement next week.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lisa Murkowski said shortly after that she is disappointed Zinke will no longer continue his role within the Department of the Interior.

“I was disappointed to learn that Secretary Zinke is stepping down," she said, according to a statement provided by her office. "He has been a strong partner for western states and for Alaska, in particular." 

After years of frustration with the department, Murkowski continued, Zinke had come in and taken a very different approach from the start. He notably pushed for responsible development in the 1002 Area and a "life-saving" road for the people of King Cove, did his best to secure energy dominance, and tried to eliminate the maintenance backlog at National Parks.

"[H]e listened to us, built a great team, and worked with us to advance our priorities," Murkowski said. "Secretary Zinke has accomplished a lot of good things for our country.

"We will miss him but wish him the best,” she said.

Murkowski remains chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources as well as the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy also released a statement Saturday on Zinke's departure after have met with him earlier this week. 

He said he was "deeply impressed with his grasp and understanding of Alaska and its people.

“Consider for a moment what he accomplished in less than two years," Dunleavy said, also citing the road to King Cove, energy production, opening ANWAR and forging new relationships between western states and the Department of the Interior.

"I want to express my deepest gratitude to Secretary Zinke for all he has done for Alaska," he said, and - via a statement from his press office - wished Zinke and his family well while "looking forward to continuing Alaska’s productive working relationship with next interior secretary."

By:  Beth Verge
Source: KTUU