Friday, December 23, 2016

Lessons Zinke can learn from Interior secretaries’ successes and failures

Montana Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke awaits the chance to tell the senators who will consider his nomination why President-elect Donald Trump made a good call picking him to lead the Department of the Interior.

I hope he reaches out to former secretaries from both parties for advice. I have been lucky enough to have interviewed all but one of the Interior leaders since former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus held the job in the 1970s.

Zinke can learn from their experiences, good and bad. He says he will govern in the tradition of President Theodore Roosevelt, who advanced both preservation and wise use of our resources.
Idaho’s Andrus led in that very tradition.

When Andrus told President Jimmy Carter to use the Antiquities Act of 1906 to set aside 56 million acres of Alaska as national monuments, the president was incredulous. “Can I do that?” Carter asked.
“You have the authority, sir,” answered Andrus, according to his memoir.

“Let’s do it,” Carter said.

The monuments forced Alaska’s congressional delegation to cut a deal on the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, setting aside 103 million acres as national parks, wildlife refuges, wild and scenic rivers, and wilderness areas.

The Andrus lesson: Have the ear of the president, work with Congress, but also be bold.

Barker also presents lessons from Watt, Lujan and Babbitt.

Notice too the leverage the Antiquities Act gives the Executive Branch.  In the example given the act was used to "force" Congress to set-aside 103 million acres. The Antiquities Act of 1906 was a tool granted to the Executive Branch by the Congress. Imagine that you loaned a tool to an associate and this associate would on a regular basis knock you in the head with the borrowed tool. Rather than taking a beating every four years or so wouldn't you call in the loan and put an end to the violence? And for the same reason, why hasn't Congress revoked this authority? What a foolish situation.


Anonymous said...

Zinke says "he will govern in the tradition of President Theodore Roosevelt, who advanced both preservation and wise use of our resources."....
All this grand admiring of Theodore Roosevelt, always referencing him as some sort of indisputable authority for doing something over again. He was a flawed a human being as anyone else, maybe a tad more so.
Just as The Founders knew that human nature was flawed; TR thought he knew better and that humans had evolved in the 100 years since our republic was formed, and their form of government with checks and balances was obsolete.
TR studied Carl Marx which influenced his thinking, hence the "Progressive" phrase was coined.
T.R. was a tireless driven rich kid who reinvented himself as an elite member of the "ruling class".
When he couldn't find any elk near his Dakota ranch after a hard winter, he rode for weeks,(blamed it on uncontrolled hunting) finally found some and he shot three.
100 years later we are still paying for his "Ruling Class" legacy, executive orders, with his Progressive political notions he set precedent with.
I think he'd be spinning in his grave if he knew his actions had caused all the usurpation of rights that it has done.
Bill Weddle

Anonymous said...

If Zinke is going to govern like Teddy Roosevelt then we can look forward to more monuments.

Anonymous said...

The Antiquities Act is pure and simple Executive Order abuse. Shouldn't the AA be challenged in Court? Both the AA and Executive Orders circumvent the House and Senate. I don't see where our Constitution says that the House and Senate can be bypassed regarding laws.