Zinke heckled as he pitches government, industry cooperation

Zinke heckled as he pitches government, industry cooperation
U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks Wednesday, May 23, 2018, at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in the Bismarck Event Center in Bismarck, N.D. (Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke faced protests and a heckler as he delivered a message of government cooperation at a large energy industry conference in North Dakota.

Zinke told the crowd Wednesday at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck that government needs to be a better partner with the energy industry. He said that would improve innovation, safety and environmental stewardship.

Nineteen-year-old Alex Hilzendeger of Bismarck says he thinks the Trump administration is too cozy with energy companies. He stood up during Zinke’s speech and shouted at him before being removed by security. He wasn’t arrested.

Members of the Sierra Club rallied outside the conference, imploring Zinke to oppose an oil refinery planned near Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota. Zinke says he’s gathering facts about the project.