Interior Secretary Zinke will make Alaska stops from Arctic to Anchorage

By Erica Martinson, Alaska Dispatch News - May 30, 2017
U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks prior to President Donald Trump signing an executive order reviewing previous National Monument designations made under the Antiquities Act, at the Interior Department in Washington, U.S., April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks prior to President Donald Trump signing an executive order reviewing national monument designations in Washington on April 26. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke plans to spend the Memorial Day weekend and a few days after in Alaska on a tour organized by Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Zinke’s schedule, according to the Department of Interior, will include the Rolling Thunder Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at Byers Lake. He’ll visit Denali National Park and Preserve on Sunday and Monday.

Zinke will spend Tuesday and Wednesday in Anchorage. Plans include meetings with Alaska Native veterans, Interior department employees and the Alaska Federation of Natives, a keynote speech at the Alaska Oil and Gas Association’s annual conference and a hike at the Nike Site Summit in Arctic Valley.

Details about the Arctic portion of the trip were few on Friday. A joint press release from Alaska’s congressional delegation said stops would be made in Prudhoe Bay and Fairbanks. Information about which other senators might be along for the ride were not immediately made available.

Zinke promised to visit Alaska during his Senate confirmation hearing, which was overseen by Murkowski, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Zinke’s trip will have two stages. The first, already underway, is Arctic-focused and includes several other U.S. senators.

Zinke and Murkowski left Washington on Thursday night for the international portion of their trip — Norway and Greenland — and will arrive in Alaska on Saturday.

In a Twitter post Friday, Zinke shared scenes from Norway. Murkowski and Sens. Steve Daines, R-Mont., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., John Cornyn, R-Texas, and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., were identifiable in the photos.

In a letter Murkowski sent to Zinke in March, obtained by Alaska Dispatch News via a Freedom of Information Act request, the senator described plans to visit a Norwegian LNG facility, Thule Air Base in Greenland, the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But energy committee spokeswoman Nicole Daigle said details of the trip have changed since the letter was sent. She said information about the current schedule was not immediately available.