Monday, June 19, 2017

Interior head says public lands can make U.S. a 'dominant' oil power

Boosting drilling and mining on America's protected federal lands can help the United States become not just independent, but "dominant" as a global energy force, according to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, whose agency manages about one-fifth of U.S. territory. In an interview with Reuters, Zinke outlined his approach to development and conservation in America's wildest spaces, and discussed how that philosophy was guiding his review of which national monuments created by past presidents should be rescinded or resized to make way for more business. "There is a social cost of not having jobs," the former Montana Congressman and Navy Seal said in the interview on Friday. "Energy dominance gives us the ability to supply our allies with energy, as well as to leverage our aggressors, or in some cases our enemies, like Iran," he said. Zinke was in New England touring the region's monuments as part of the review. At least six of those monuments are believed to hold oil, gas, and coal potential. Zinke issued his first major recommendation to President Trump on one of the monuments last week, a reduction in the size of the 1.35 million acre Bears Ears National Monument in Utah created by Obama in his last days in office.  Zinke told Reuters he is likely to take a similar approach to the other monuments, including the 4,913 square mile Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the coast of Massachusetts – which is roughly three times the size of Montana’s Glacier National Park...more

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