Zinke Applauds Nomination of Idaho's Ryan Nelson to Serve as Interior Solicitor

Last edited 9/29/2021

Date: August 1, 2017
Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump announced yesterday the nomination of Ryan Nelson of Idaho to serve as the Solicitor for the Department of the Interior.

As Solicitor, Nelson will be the chief attorney for the United States Department of the Interior, principal legal adviser to the Secretary of the Interior, and will oversee 400 employees, including 300 attorneys. He will be assisted by several Deputy Solicitors, Associate Solicitors, and eight Regional Solicitors.

“Ryan Nelson is coming to the Department of the Interior with a strong background in natural resources policy and law, stretching many years in both the public and private sector,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Having a seasoned legal expert like Ryan, who is also a son of the West, will benefit the entire Department. I look forward to his speedy confirmation by the Senate.”

“I am honored to have been chosen by Secretary Zinke and nominated by President Trump to serve, and I look forward to the next steps in the Senate confirmation process,” Ryan Nelson said.

“Ryan Nelson’s background is a strong fit for the U.S. Department of Interior as he has worked on a wide-range of policy issues important to both Idaho and to the nation,” said Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho. “Combined with his strong legal background, Ryan will bring a point of view to Interior that is critically important given the agency’s jurisdiction over significant portions of the Western United States. I congratulate Ryan on his nomination and will work with my Senate colleagues to advance his confirmation.”

“Ryan Nelson’s experience handling environmental and natural resources policy and his vast understanding of issues impacting Western states make him well-qualified for this position,” said Senator Jim Risch of Idaho, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee overseeing this nomination. “I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to swiftly confirm his nomination.”

“I’ve known Ryan for over 20 years and have interacted with him at every stage of his impressive legal career,” said Senator Mike Lee of Utah, also a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee overseeing this nomination. “He will be an extraordinary Solicitor.”

“I am pleased to see an Idahoan nominated for such an important role at the Department of the Interior,” said Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson. “I congratulate Ryan Nelson on his nomination to lead Interior’s Office of the Solicitor and I look forward to his important work advising the Secretary on decisions which impact Idaho and the Western United States.”

Nelson has the unique experience of working at high levels in all branches of government, including positions in the Executive Office of the President, the Department of Justice, and the United States Senate Judiciary Committee.

Ron Tenpas, former Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division, said: “I worked with Ryan when he served as a key legal advisor at the Department of Justice in the Environment and Natural Resources Division. He is a stellar attorney and consistently took on greater management responsibilities for the Division. During his tenure, he successfully argued more than a dozen important cases and oversaw more than 500 overall, including as Division counsel for several Supreme Court cases. He has a deep litigation and regulatory background, particularly on natural resources and environmental issues. I have full confidence that the Department of the Interior will be well served by Ryan's unique legal skill set.”

Nelson has been serving as General Counsel at Melaleuca, Inc., a billion-dollar consumer goods company based in Nelson’s hometown of Idaho Falls, Idaho. As a senior corporate management team member, Nelson oversees the Legal and Policy Departments and manages all corporate compliance, litigation, and regulatory issues.

Regarding Nelson’s nomination, Melaleuca’s CEO, Frank VanderSloot said: “Ryan has been a primary member of the management team and the chief legal advisor for Melaleuca, Inc. for nearly eight years. I have personally come to trust and rely on his legal mind and deep commitment to the law, as he has effectively advised the company over the years. During his service, the company has nearly tripled in size and Ryan has built a strong legal team and worked tirelessly to successfully guide the company’s growth. President Trump and Secretary Zinke have chosen the best possible candidate to lead the Department of the Interior’s legal team. Ryan is a true patriot and I fully support his personal sacrifice in serving this country that he loves so much.”

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