Zinke: Too many people enter national parks for free

Zinke: Too many people enter national parks for free

Zinke: Too many people enter national parks for free

Meanwhile, he has proposed cutting royalty fees paid by energy companies to drill for oil and natural gas on public lands.

"Well, first, insults and innuendos are misleading. I never took a private jet anywhere", Zinke said, adding that all three flights he had taken on private planes as secretary were on aircraft driven by propellers, not jet engines. "As Interior Secretary she was out hiking and doing what she was supposed to be doing", Zinke said. "And I'll go through line by line".

Zinke called the $80-a-year pass "the greatest bargain in America", despite bipartisan pushback who said it would hurt American families.

"She took private charter airplanes and took helicopters".

Zinke responded the data so far is "inconclusive" and a decision had not been reached yet.

In January, the Trump administration announced plans to allow offshore oil and gas drilling off the West Coast for the first time since 1984.

Wyden, who has served in Congress for almost four decades, called his vote to confirm Zinke "one of the biggest regrets of my time in public service".

Zinke also faced questions from Louisiana's Republican Senator John Kennedy.

"You should know off the coast of Oregon, Washington, most of California, there are no known resources of any weight", Zinke told Washington State Democratic Sen. I think I'm going to mark down Washington as opposed to oil and gas drilling.

Zinke said he would supply the committee with data when available.

The Park Service now charges between $25 and $30 for a vehicle fee at the country's busiest national parks like Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Zion. Currently, the Park Service charges entry fees of $25 or $30 per vehicle.

"When you give discounted or free passes to elderly, fourth graders, veterans, disabled, and you do it by the carload, there's not a whole lot of people who actually pay at our front door", Zinke said.

Seniors used to be able to buy a lifetime pass for $10 but that was raised to $80, the same cost as an annual pass for nonseniors.