first_imgInterior Secretary Ryan Zinke rode a National Park Service horse named Tonto about a mile, posing along the National Mall for photos. The Park Service, the Mall and the horse are within Interior’s domain. (Interior Department photo.)Former Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke rode a horse to his first day of work in Washington, D.C. today. He’s the new Secretary of the Interior. The position is an important one for Alaska, where more than 60 percent of the land is owned by the federal government. The Interior secretary is also charged with upholding trust obligations to Native tribes.Listen nowSen. Lisa Murkowski said she hopes that with the new secretary, she’ll finally get approval for a road to connect King Cove to the all-weather airport in Cold Bay. Murkowski said Zinke seems sympathetic to the need for what she called a “life-saving road.”“He has had the opportunity to be briefed on it many times,” Murkowski said. “He has also met with some of the residents from King Cove. And he has indicated his understanding of the situation.”Zinke, though, would face fierce opposition from conservation groups who say the King Cove road would damage the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge and important bird habitat.Soon after his swearing in, Zinke signed an order to reverse a last-minute Obama administration ban on lead ammo and fishing tackle in national wildlife refuges.That made Alaska Congressman Don Young happy. Young said the lead ban “had little to do with science and conservation” and was instead “one last parting gift to our nation’s most extreme environmental elite.”Steel shot and all-copper bullets cost more than those with lead. Some sportsmen also say the non-lead ammunition shoots differently. Those who want to ban lead ammo argue the toxic metal contaminates waterways, wildlife and people who eat game meat.last_img

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