Zinke Watch

Photo: Gage Skidmore

Trump’s Interior Department doesn’t merely want the public to blindly absorb the environmental costs of fossil-fuel extraction on public lands — it also wants us to subsidize the financial costs of such activity. Late last week, the administration filed a repeal of an Obama-era measure designed to increase mineral royalties on federal lands. Or, more precisely, Trump moved to reopen loopholes that allow coal companies to avoid paying their full dues to Uncle Sam. 

LINK (via: New York)

Zinke, who has received significant campaign contributions from the coal, oil and gas industries, has been a vocal supporter of rolling back the coal loophole rule.

Zinke also just announced the roll back of a sage grouse protection plan. The plan crafted by a broad and unlikely coalition of biologists, ranchers, environmental groups, extractive industries, federal agencies and state and local governments laid out a management strategy for the bird that would preempt endangered species listing.

The Trump administration will overhaul an Obama-era protection plan for the greater sage grouse in a way that will also allow for increased economic development, in particular, oil and gas production, in Western states, a move criticized by conservationists as “careless.” 

In a memo published Monday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke directed his agency to implement nine management recommendations from an internal review team that includes providing greater flexibility for management decisions and modifying or issuing “new policy on fluid mineral leasing and development.” Zinke wrote he is “particularly interested in assisting the states in setting sage-grouse population objectives to improve management of the species.”

LINK (via: The Huffington Post)

Even the Republican Governor of Wyoming is critical of the proposed management changes.Gov. Matt Mead

Gov. Matt Mead criticized a key aspect of the federal government’s new plan for managing the imperiled sage grouse, arguing that it ignores the scientific consensus on protecting the bird.

LINK (via: The Casper Star Tribune)

Outside Magazine takes a crack at how Zinke stacks up to Teddy Roosevelt.



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