It looks like the Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument is going to be safe from federal “review” . . .
Cutting off public campaigns by proponents and opponents, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Tuesday he plans to recommend the Upper Missouri Breaks retain its status as a national monument, effectively taking it off the list of monuments nationwide that could lose their status.
“My likely recommendation will be to leave the Missouri Breaks as is,” Zinke said. “I think it’s settled to a degree that I would rather not open up a wound that has been healed.” Zinke made his remarks at a press conference following his appearance at the Western Governors’ Association meeting.
The announcement shocked people on both sides of the issue.
Last Tuesday, a number of North Fork Preservation Association members participated in a rally to support national monuments at the Western Governors’ Association meeting in Whitefish. NFPA President Debo Powers addressed the crowd.
This is a direct, to-the-point statement just released by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock concerning efforts to “review” the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument . . .
Today, I sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke urging that no changes be made to the designation of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.
In May, Secretary Zinke began a review of over 20 National Monuments from around the country pursuant to an Executive Order issued by President Donald Trump. The Missouri River Breaks was one of the monuments designated for review. As part of this process, Secretary Zinke reached out to me for my comments and recommendations regarding the Missouri Breaks National Monument.
The Missouri River Breaks offers world-class, once-in-a-lifetime public lands hunting opportunities for trophy mule-deer, elk, and bighorn sheep. Opportunities like these attract over 130,000 visitors to the area every year and provide an annual influx of $10 million to the local economy. The local economy has come to depend on this. In addition to attracting more visitors, the region has sustained growth in many measures of local economic health and prosperity—including a 23 percent increase in real capita income.
Finally, the Missouri Breaks has remained largely unchanged for over 200 years. The monument designation helps keep it that way for our children and grandchildren to share. For these reasons, I strongly recommended that no changes in the size or to the designation of the Monument should be made.
Places like the Missouri River Breaks are important to Montanans and play a significant role in our way of life. These public lands are our heritage and support an unmatched quality of life. I will continue to fight to preserve public access to our lands, rivers, and streams and I oppose any effort that jeopardizes or calls into question the future of the Missouri River Breaks or any other part of our public lands heritage.
As Secretary Zinke continues his review of the Missouri River Breaks National Monument designation, I urge you to reach out to him HERE to share your own comments and experiences within the area.
Our national monuments are under attack! Please speak out in support of them by writing a letter to Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke. In Montana, the Upper Missouri River Breaks is one of the monuments under review. (See the recent NFPA letter to Ryan Zinke for ideas and for Secretary Zinke’s mailing address.)
Also, there will be a Rally for National Monuments in Whitefish where Secretary Zinke will be addressing the Western Governor’s Conference on Tuesday, June 27 at noon in Depot Park. This rally is being organized by a group of conservation organizations in our area. We need as many people to attend as possible so please pass the word …and bring friends and family members.
This is the NPR version of this story, including a pretty neat sage grouse video . . .
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has announced that regulations protecting the sage grouse – rules which have been subject to years of negotiation and controversy in Western states – are once again under review.
This puts the Greater Sage Grouse Conservation plan, finalized in 2015, in a state of flux.
Zinke stressed that the Trump administration wants to see improvement in the bird’s conservation, but also wants to make sure that state agencies are “heard on this issue.” He said that possible modifications would take into account “local economic growth and job creation.”
It’s safe to say that the sage grouse, found only in North America, is a singular, strange bird that elicits strong feelings…
Jimmy Tobias, currently an environmental reporter and, for three summers, a trail crew worker in this corner of the country, has a strongly worded op-ed in the New York Times regarding public lands transfer . . .
The Senate’s confirmation this week of the former Montana congressman Ryan Zinke as secretary of the interior has revived concerns about the future of public lands in the Trump administration. While Mr. Zinke has branded himself as a Teddy Roosevelt-style conservationist — and resigned as a delegate to the Republican National Convention last year to protest the party’s support for transferring federal lands to states or private groups — his record is spotty…
My generation and those that follow have much at stake in this battle. We stand to lose our ability to hike and camp, to bike and boat, to hunt and fish and explore freely in these superlative places. We also stand to lose the opportunities for meaningful work, civic engagement and spiritual fulfillment that our public lands provide…
Here’s a pointed discussion of Rep. Zinke’s vote in favor of a House rules change that would ease the transfer of public lands out of federal control . . .
Keeping federal public lands public is a big issue in Montana and the West. It’s an issue that Rep. Ryan Zinke campaigned on in his successful bid for re-election. In his first term, Zinke frequently described himself as a Teddy Roosevelt Republican, strongly committed to protecting and preserving public lands owned by the people of the United States.
He stated unequivocally that he is against the transfer of federal public lands to states. States such as Montana are rich in public land but lack the staff to manage our priceless American heritage. One concern about the land transfer movement is that cash-strapped states would turn around and sell the land.
So after Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, tucked a provision in the House Rules bill that could make land transfer legislation easier to pass, we expected that Zinke would have something to say about it. The House approved the rules package 233-190 with the Bishop provision that exempts any future land transfers from the budget scrutiny that otherwise must be given to bills that would reduce U.S. revenue or increase U.S. spending. Zinke was among the GOP majority voting for the rules package on Tuesday, the first Congressional work day of 2017.
Rep. Ryan Zinke Voted in favor of an ill-considered public lands-related bill and the MWA is pretty annoyed. Election year posturing is such a pain . . .
In a recent op-ed, Congressman Ryan Zinke called himself a “Teddy Roosevelt conservationist.” He based that self-characterization on a few votes he made against the transfer and sale of public lands and for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. But his vote today in the House Natural Resources Committee in favor of H.R 2316 (the Self-Sufficient Community Lands Act) is far from Rooseveltian. In fact, it’s a direct attack on the legacy Teddy left us – our National Forest lands.
In a post-election editorial, the Missoulian advocates action on the North Fork Watershed Protection Act . . .
…The act is aimed at placing permanent protections on the side of the Flathead watershed that falls within the United States. The Canadians have already granted such protections on their side of the border, honoring a longstanding agreement between our two countries. Unfortunately, and frustratingly, the U.S. has not held up its end of the bargain by prohibiting new oil, gas and mining activity in the North Fork.
The legislation has widespread, bipartisan support. But in today’s politically divided Congress, even the most worthy bills can be held up by partisan gridlock.
Hopefully, all three of Montana’s congressional delegates make it their first order of business to work together to get the North Fork Watershed Protection Act approved by Congress at last…