What will Secretary Zinke’s Resignation Mean to National Parks Restoration Projects?

Just crossing the wires this morning is a report on Bloomberg News that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will be stepping down at the end of December. As most of my readers know, his term in the Interior Department has been controversial. He was instrumental in the early retirement of Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk earlier this Fall, as well as the downsizing of several key protected lands from National Monument status and threats to further reduce endangered lands from federal protection.

The former Navy Seal and Congressman from Montana was a proponent of making the US “the strongest energy superpower” in the world, winning him support from oil, gas and mining advocates.

According to the Bloomberg report, the President has said that he plans to name a new secretary next week. Candidates mentioned in the report include David Bernhardt, the agency’s number two official, Cynthia Lummis, former congresswoman from Wyoming, and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, among others.

The announcement of Zinke’s impending departure from Interior is something we will watch very closely, especially at a time when Congress is considering a funding bill to begin work on the more than $11 Billion backlog of repairs needed to maintain our national parks and other federally protected lands and waterways.

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