Washington governor says Zinke would 'sell his grandchildren for the oil industry'

Washington governor says Zinke would 'sell his grandchildren for the oil industry'

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) slammed Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeNew policy at Interior's in-house watchdog clamps down on interactions with press Overnight Energy: EPA proposes scrapping limits on coal plant waste | Appointee overseeing federal lands once advocated selling them | EPA lifts Obama-era block on controversial mine Latest appointee overseeing federal public lands once advocated to sell them MORE on Thursday, saying he is in the pocket of the oil and gas industry and would “sell his grandchildren for the oil industry.”

Speaking at an event, Inslee took issue with Zinke’s recent tour of California where the secretary visited neighborhoods struck by recent wildfires and told reporters “this is not a debate about climate change.”

Inslee, whose state has faced similar wildfire threats, said Zinke “would flunk any science test that these kids take," the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

ADVERTISEMENT

"With climate change you have a hotter, drier climate, Mr. Zinke. You have fires. What is there about this that you cannot comprehend. ... This man works for us. We do not pay him to give us false information. We get enough of that from the President,” Inslee said.

He added that Zinke "would sell his grandchildren for the oil industry. ... We have just seen the beginning of the firestorm."

An Interior spokeswoman called the remarks unprofessional and "sad"

"Bringing up the Secretary's granddaughters in a half-baked interview in order to get a couple headlines is outrageously pathetic and sad," said Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift.

Zinke toured California along with Department of Agriculture head Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueUSDA eases relocation timeline as researchers flee agency The Hill's Morning Report - How will Trump be received in Dayton and El Paso? USDA office move may have broken law, watchdog says MORE last weekend, meeting with fire chiefs and local representatives. During a number of interviews, Zinke pushed the need for greater forest management and likened the environmentalists who opposed logging and other brush clearing measures to “terrorist groups."

In an op-ed for USA Today earlier in the month, Zinke similarly blamed "radical environmentalists" for the fires.

"[W]e are attacked with frivolous litigation from radical environmentalists who would rather see forests and communities burn than see a logger in the woods,” he wrote.

Zinke's message echoes President TrumpDonald John Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president MORE, who tweeted that California's environment laws were to blame for the state's fire disaster.

"California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire from spreading!," Trump tweeted August 6.