Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Zinke calls for fewer barriers to development on public land

Removing bureaucratic obstacles to development on federal land can create jobs and offer hope to nearby communities, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Tuesday in hinting at long-term changes in store for federal agencies, including the Interior Department. Promising reorganization “on a scale of 100 years” but without offering specifics, Zinke said the Interior Department and other land management agencies need to better cooperate. Right now, agencies that evaluate the same project often end up providing conflicting opinions, he said at the Western Governors’ Association annual meeting in his hometown of Whitefish, Montana. “Jobs matter. There’s a social cost of not having jobs. And we love environmental regulations fair and equitable, but it takes wealth to make sure that we can maintain those regulations and improve,” Zinke said. The Interior Department has begun reviewing its practice of requiring developers to offset the harm of their projects by paying for conservation elsewhere, he said. “Some people would call it extortion. I call it un-American,” Zinke said of that policy. ..more 

One hopes this will also bring a halt to BLM''s occasional practice of requiring ranchers to share water or grant easements across their property as a condition of receiving a permit to graze. You won't find a better example of extortion than that. Not only should it be stopped, it should be expunged from any existing permits.  

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