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Zinke confirmation raises new questions

In his opening statement at yesterday’s confirmation hearing, Interior Secretary-designate Ryan Zinke described himself as an “unapologetic admirer of Teddy Roosevelt.” As he steps into the shoes of America’s greatest conservation leader, Rep. Zinke has a lot to prove.

During the hearing, Rep. Zinke repeatedly expressed his support for tribal sovereignty. If this is in fact the case, one would hope that the Congressman will give his full support to Bears Ears National Monument—a tribally-led proposal to protect ancestral lands in Southeast Utah. However, Rep. Zinke says a visit to Utah to address what he calls “pending problems” is at the top of his list.

The Congressman’s stated support for rolling back BLM’s new methane rule raises serious questions about his commitment to ensuring that taxpayers receive a fair return for the use of their natural resources.

Rep. Zinke did reaffirm his support for keeping federal lands in federal hands—saying, “I am absolutely against transfer or sale of public lands“—but expressed openness to turning over management to the states.

Quick hits

Poll: Americans want strong environmental regulations under President-elect Trump


GOP targets landmark Endangered Species Act

Associated Press

In 2016, natural gas replaced coal as the main source of U.S. energy

Houston Chronicle

Congress takes aim at two environmental rules

Washington Post

Outdoor industry leaders: We “strongly oppose” any proposal that compromises our national public lands

Gear Junkie

Struggling with funding cuts, state parks across the country get creative

Wall Street Journal

Land seizure backers seek state convention to amend the Constitution and turn over U.S. lands

Capital Press

Letter: A 210-million-year-old marvel inside Bears Ears

Washington Post

Quote of the day

“President Obama’s lands legacy will be noted as one of intertwining the preservation of our natural wonders while also highlighting American cultural heritage.”

Ralph Arellanes,

Hispano Round Table of New Mexico Chairman

Latest News

@WstrnPriorities on Twitter

1 day ago
Meet Todd Wynn, the new @Interior official who wants to give away America’s public lands. WstrnPriorities photo
1 day ago
Senators may use budget vote to advance efforts to open up Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
WstrnPriorities photo
1 day ago
@nytopinion Efforts to open Arctic to drilling are "budget scam that puts the wildest place left in America at risk" WstrnPriorities photo


States step up to lead on conservation and public lands policy in the Trump era

At a time when Westerners are feeling less than confident about the federal government’s commitment to respecting and protecting our...

October 17th, 2017

Oh, the places Secretary Ryan Zinke will go (for political fundraisers and speeches)

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has been all over the news in recent weeks — and it hasn’t been the kind...

October 17th, 2017

Anti-park congressman introduces “No New Parks” bill

Congressman Bishop’s attack on the Antiquities Act is not a serious piece of legislation. It’s a manifesto put forward by...

October 10th, 2017