Embattled US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke resigns
WASHINGTON US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that his Interior Secretary will be leaving soon.
Mr Ryan Zinke's exit will remove the distraction of the ethical issues that have dogged him - and reportedly have annoyed Mr Trump - but is unlikely to mark a shift away from the concerted environmental deregulation that took place during his tenure.
"Secretary of the Interior @RyanZinke will be leaving the administration at the end of the year after having served for a period of almost two years," Mr Trump wrote on Twitter. He saida replacement will be announced next week.
The interior secretary is responsible for overseeing conservation and mineral extraction on public land.
Mr Zinke tied his departure to the burden of "false allegations" against him.
"I cannot justify spending thousands of dollars defending myself and my family against false allegations. It is better for the President and Interior to focus on accomplishments rather than fictitious allegations," he said.
Mr Zinke has been the subject of various investigations linked to his real estate holdings and his actions in office.
Democrats expressed no regrets over his impending departure.
"Ryan Zinke was one of the most toxic members of the Cabinet in the way he treated our environment, our public lands, and the way he treated the govt like it was his personal honey pot," tweeted Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.
Mrs Nancy Pelosi, the incoming Speaker of the House of Representatives, also offered a harsh assessment. "His ethical abuses have delivered a serious and lasting blow to America's public lands, environment, clean air and clean water," she said. - AFP