According to the Washington Post: “the fossil fuel industry is enjoying a remarkable resurgence as its executives and lobbyists shape President-elect Donald Trump’s policy agenda and staff his administration. The oil, gas and coal industries are amassing power throughout Washington — from Foggy Bottom, where ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson is Trump’s nominee to be secretary of state, to domestic regulatory agencies including the departments of Energy and Interior as well as the Environmental Protection Agency.”
Based on the number of Cabinet and upper Administration picks over the past few weeks it would not be a stretch to say that President-elect Trump is essentially building an America government for big oil and resource extraction industries, run by big oil and resource extraction industries.
Just yesterday, President-Elect Trump made his nomination of Montana Rep Ryan Zinke to head the Department of Interior official. If you care about America’s public lands, wildlife and wilderness heritage, the person in charge of the Dept of Interior is a big deal. After all, the Dept of Interior manages 1/5 of the entire land base in the U.S., 35,000 miles of coastlines and 1.76 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Ryan Zinke would be in charge of 70,000 employees and the following federal agencies and bureaus: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, National Park Service, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey.
In my capacity as director of the WildWest Institute I issued the following statement yesterday:
Rep Ryan Zinke has an established track record of being pro-coal, pro-fracking, pro-logging, anti-science and anti-endangered species act when it comes to managing America’s public lands and wildlife. This has earned Zinke an environmental voting record of 3% from the League of Conservation Voters and a National Parks voting record of just 9% from the National Parks Conservation Association.
Let’s also not forget that Rep Zinke was just hand picked by President-elect Donald Trump, someone who is clearly assembling the most anti-environmental, anti-public lands, pro-oil and gas and pro-wall street cabinet and administration in U.S. History.
To think that Congressman Ryan Zinke is going to be a strong advocate for America’s public lands, our national parks and fish and wildlife species – and not just do the bidding of his boss, Donald Trump and campaign contributors in the resource extraction industry – is simply delusional, and not being honest with the American public.
Simply because someone has stated that they would not sell-off, or give away, America’s public lands, does not in any way make that person a huge public lands champion, or a “Teddy Roosevelt Republican” especially when the voting record clearly exposes the truth.
Here what some of the most mainstream and well-respect conservation, wildlife and environmental groups in the country had to say about Trump’s pick of Zinke:
Defenders of Wildlife says Zinke Poses Serious Threat to Wildlife Conservation (here)
Sierra Club criticizes Zinke nomination, strongly urges Senators to oppose nomination (here)
Natural Resources Defense Council: Zinke’s Record Falls Far Short and Adds to Trump’s Fossil Fuel Cabinet (here)
The Wilderness Society says “Trump Interior Nominee Ryan Zinke Raises Serious Concerns (here)
When President-elect Trump nominated Ryan Zinke yesterday, Trump issued the following statement: “[Ryan Zinke] has built one of the strongest track records on championing regulatory relief, forest management, responsible energy development and public land issues.”
Here’s what that strong track record looks like according to the very mainstream League of Conservation Voters. If you care about America’s public lands, wildlife and wilderness legacy…buckle up folks, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.