Thursday, July 19, 2018

Secretary Zinke unveils plan to reorganize the Department of Interior; NM in pilot project

March 2, 2018
Zinke’s reorganization plan will redraw the regional maps. The new regions were drawn using watersheds and ecosystems generally following county lines. The new regions will be more involved in the decision process instead of D.C. making all the decisions. More authority will be given to personnel in the field. How does someone in Washington D.C. know what is happening in Utah or Arizona? The new regional maps will also put someone in charge. As often is the case today no one knows which agency takes the lead on projects that deal with multiple agencies, which is almost all of them. The new regions will have Interior Regional Directors (IRDs). The IRDs will report directly to the Deputy Secretary and be responsible for corralling the multiple agencies in their region while moving the ball forward on projects. This is what halts so many current projects. No one knows which agency will take the lead. Zinke plans on rolling out the plan in Alaska first. The nation’s largest state is in a single time zone almost all DOI bureaus operate there, and there is only one state government to deal with. The conditions make it perfect for the pilot program...MORE

Susan Combs testimony of today before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources is embedded below or can viewed online here

In her testimony, mentioned the pilot projects as:

To support the Department and to begin this reorganization effort, the Administration included $17.5 million across the Department in its FY 2019 budget request. We are also carrying out a pilot project on this effort in the State of Alaska, an ideal location for such an effort because of its single time zone, large Department presence, and consolidated regional office location. An additional pilot is proposed for the region that includes the Upper Colorado Basin – Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. These pilot programs will focus on the use of shared services and inter-bureau coordination efforts and will help ensure that the eventual nationwide implementation of these unified regions will be accomplished with consideration of the full complexity of the Department’s operations and in a way that is sensitive to regional differences.

No specifics were given.

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