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…