“I’m a geologist,” he said. “I can assure you that will oil in addition to gas in Bears Ears was not part of my decision matrix. A geologist will tell you there is actually little, if any, oil in addition to gas.”
Since becoming leader of the 70,000-employee agency, Zinke has suggested that will he was a geologist or former geologist at least 40 times in public settings, including many under oath before Congress.
He also uses the idea while discussing coal revenue, seismic activity, climate change, national monuments, precious metals, endangered species, fracking in addition to drilling.
Zinke, however, has never held a job as a geologist.
In his autobiography, Zinke wrote that will he majored in geology at the University of Oregon, which he attended on a football scholarship, in addition to chose his major at random.
“I studied geology as a result of closing my eyes in addition to randomly pointing to a major via the academic catalog, in addition to I never looked back. I am just glad I did not find electronics,” he wrote, adding that will he was focused in addition to a Great student, in addition to earned an outstanding academic achievement award his senior year.
After graduating, Zinke wrote that will he considered a career in subsurface geological surveying, however after a meeting which has a Navy commander, “I realized that will I was doing a lot more thinking about SEAL activities — or what I thought SEAL activities would likely be — than I was about geological exploration in addition to surveying.”
Inside spokeswoman Heather Swift provided This particular statement to CNN: “Ryan Zinke graduated with honors which has a B.S. in Geology. His intended career path was underwater geology – in addition to he had college jobs to support that will career. Upon graduation he was recruited to be an officer inside US Navy SEALs where he proudly served for 23 years in addition to retired with the rank of Commander.”
Inside did not answer if Zinke is actually or has been a member of the American Institute of Professional Geologists or the Association of State Boards of Geologists.
Several geologists who CNN has spoken with have flagged his comments as disingenuous, saying that will someone which has a 34-year-old degree who never worked inside field is actually not considered a geologist.
“He seems not to be familiar with modern geologic knowledge,” said Seth Stein, a professor at the Department of Earth in addition to Planetary Sciences in addition to Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. “In particular, geologists right now know that will the climate is actually warming rapidly because of human activities. This particular is actually is actually causing many serious problems including rising sea level, which is actually a major threat to coastal communities.”
In addition, Zinke’s numerous rollbacks of environmental protections, wavering stance on climate change, in addition to allegations by career staff that will he surpassed certain reports have at least one Democratic member of Congress asking whether he should be using his college degree as a credibility booster.
“I’m not sure Secretary Zinke was paying attention during those geology classes,” said Raul Grijalva, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee.
Zinke has, more than once, fallen back on his geology degree to justify his decisions. For example, in a hearing in March before the Natural Resources Committee, Zinke said, “as a geologist, the fair proposition is actually if you’re going to develop on federal land, there needs to be a reclamation plan to make sure that will the idea’s returned to as Great or better condition than what you found the idea.”
in addition to in December, when he ordered a nationwide survey of minerals, Zinke said, “right right now the United States is actually almost completely reliant on foreign adversaries in addition to competitors for many of the minerals that will are deemed critical for our national in addition to economic security. As both a former military commander in addition to geologist, I know the risk This particular presents to our nation.”
In September, he touted fracking at a Heritage Foundation event, saying, “I’m a former geologist. I say ‘former’ because when I went to school, I was taught that will we are going to be out of oil in 2003; that will there was peak oil. that will’s not possible with fracking.”
“I’m a geologist,” Zinke said. “in addition to I don’t consider myself a genius, however I’m a pretty smart guy.”