Interior Department head dines with oil lobbyists at Trump hotel

U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has been cozying up to fossil fuel industry players a lot lately. During his recent trip out West, he spent almost all his time with fossil fuel executives without scheduling any meetings for the public to voice their concerns about, well, public land. Turns out that wasn’t the first time Zinke has palled around with polluters. According to new reports, Zinke was the featured lunch speaker at the American Petroleum Institute’s board of directors meeting back in March—which took place at the Trump International Hotel Washington D.C., a few blocks from the White House (where the hotel’s owner just so happens to work, ahem). In addition to directly benefiting the president by holding an event at his hotel, API spent $2.7 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2017. Based on Trump’s polluter first agenda, largely spearheaded by Zinke’s agency, it looks like Big Oil’s investments are paying off.

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