Friday, March 03, 2017

Enviro reaction to Zinke - Heinrich & Udall vote 'yes' ?

The Senate on Wednesday voted to confirm Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) to head the Department of the Interior. The 68-31 vote included yeas from 16 Democrats and one Independent, Sen. Angus King of Maine...Ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) added: “I’m not convinced that Congressman Zinke will be able to moderate the Trump administration’s extreme views on exploiting our public lands. I’m not sure he will be able to stand up to the president and protect the public interest … required to manage our public lands for the benefit of all Americans—not just the oil, gas, and mining companies and their commercial interests.” With Zinke as Interior Secretary, said executive director May Boeve, “Once again, the Trump administration is stacking their cards in favor of the fossil fuel industry.” “Zinke is another climate science-denier with ties to Big Oil who won’t lift a finger for real climate action. His agenda will put communities in danger and, if the coal moratorium is lifted, would spell disaster for the climate,” she continued. Conservation group Center for Biological Diversity also noted in a statement Wednesday: "During his two years in Congress, Zinke earned just a 3 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters and voted against protections for endangered species 100 percent of the time, including opposing safeguards for the African elephant, gray wolf, sage grouse, and American burying beetle." Friends of the Earth is calling on constituents to hold Zinke-confirming senators’ feet to the fire and say to them: “You are now responsible for the actions that Ryan Zinke will take as Secretary of the Interior. I plan to hold you accountable.”...more

Some major conservation groups also opposed Zinke's nomination:

Sierra Club chief Michael Brune said in a statement that “the confirmation of Rep. Zinke as Interior Secretary jeopardizes the future of our great outdoors, and the people, wildlife, and economies that depend on them."

Natural Resource Defense Council  says Zinke is 'Unfit for Duty': "The problem is that Zinke has established a poor record during his brief career in Congress when it comes to voting in support of all that. We shouldn’t be taking a chance when we put someone in charge of federal lands, and the Senate should reject Zinke’s nomination."

Heinrich and Udall are usually in lock-step with the enviros. They have voted against some of the other Trump nominees. One must ask the question: Why would they buck the majority in their own party and their supporters in the environmental community to vote in favor of Zinke's nomination?

Could this be the reason?

After meeting with Zinke in January, Udall issued a statement which read. in part,
 "... I don't believe that Congressman Zinke will push to change the status of New Mexico's monuments."

 I guess we'll be finding out in the coming months. For that, see Will OMDP national monument survive the Trump administration? by Diana Alba Soular, which provides a thorough and objective overview of the topic. There was only one thing missing, and I'm surprised the law professor she interviewed didn't mention it.

According to the National Park Service website, Presidents have diminished the size of national monuments 14 times. The acreages involved have ranged from 5 acres to 313,280 acres. The Presidents who have exercised their authority under the Antiquities Act to diminish the size of a national monument are Coolidge, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, Taft, Truman & Wilson.


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