Ryan Zinke on Environment



End ban on lead bullets & fishing tackle in wildlife refuges

On his first full day in office, Zinke rescinded the policy implemented on January 19, 2017, the last day of the Obama administration, that banned the use of lead bullets and lead fishing tackle in national wildlife refuges. Zinke said: "Over the past eight years hunting, and recreation enthusiasts have seen trails closed and dramatic decreases in access to public lands across the board. It worries me to think about hunting and fishing becoming activities for the land-owning elite. This package of secretarial orders will expand access for outdoor enthusiasts and also make sure the community's voice is heard." The regulation was meant to help prevent lead contamination of plants and animals.

The move was opposed by the Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, and other environmental groups. The rollback was praised by the National Rifle Association, as well as other "gun rights advocates, sportsmen's groups, conservatives and state wildlife agencies."

Source: Wikipedia.com for Trump Cabinet biographies , Dec 31, 2018

Raise fees & eliminate national park passes for kids

When President Trump's new secretary of the interior Ryan Zinke rode a horse to the steps of his new office, there was cautious optimism. But as the 18th director of the National Park Service (NPS), where I oversaw over 400 national parks, now that Zinke [has left the] Department of the Interior, many of us who care deeply about public lands have breathed a collective sigh of relief.

While we were hopeful [about] Zinke, we were soon disappointed, then appalled, as his doors were soon darkened by profiteers, big game hunters, oil executives, and climate deniers. Under Zinke, national monuments were carved up and reopened for development, exemplified by the reduction of Bears Ears national monument under the guise of a "review" under which Native American input was left out and public opposition ignored. Then Zinke rolled out a series of poorly conceived ideas: eliminate national park passes for the active military and fourth graders, and increase national park entrance fees.

Source: NPS Director in The Guardian on 2018 Trump Administration , Dec 16, 2018

OpEd: National Parks are under-staffed despite more visits

During his confirmation hearing in March 2017, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke stated that one of his top three priorities as secretary would be "to ensure the professionals on the front line, our rangers and field managers, have the right tools, right resources and flexibility." But that's not what he's done during his first 16 months in office.

Last month, 14 members of Congress criticized Secretary Zinke in a formal letter, stating, "Morale is already low at NPS, due to rampant underfunding coupled with increased visitation, a highly questionable department-wide reorganization proposal, a continuing climate of harassment, and the failure of the White House to nominate a permanent NPS director."

The Trump administration, with Zinke's input, in its most recent budget proposal would have cut another 1,800 Park Service staff--more than 9 percent of its already-reduced workforce. While Congress rejected this plan, staffing needs continue to go unaddressed.

Source: NPCA.org "Undermining NPS" on 2018 Trump Administration , Jul 12, 2018

Shrink national monuments and expand offshore drilling

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., once stated, "The American people deserve long-term, forward-thinking policies." Unfortunately, Heller's voting record contradicts this statement. Heller voted for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Pruitt is rolling back environmental protections while Zinke is shrinking national monuments and expanding offshore drilling.
Source: Las Vegas Sun, "Broken promise," 2018 Trump Administration , Feb 12, 2018

Absolutely against transfer or sale of public land to states

Zinke's stance on federal lands was questioned during his 2016 campaign for re-election to the U.S. House. In the past, Zinke has opposed selling federal lands to the states for management. He has, however, supported efforts to transfer some management of public lands to individual states. During his hearing, Zinke stated, "I am absolutely against transfer or sale of public land."
Source: Ballotpedia.org: 2017 Trump transition confirmation hearings , Jan 18, 2017

Smokey the Bear should be viewed as helpful, not as police

In response to Jeff Flake's (R-AZ) questions on coordination between federal enforcement and local residents, Zinke said, "I grew up where Smokey the Bear was revered. Who could not like Smokey the Bear? And now, in some parts, it's feared. When they see Smokey the Bear, they think law enforcement rather than managing our forests. We have to come together to make sure our team out there is viewed as helpful." When Al Franken (D-MN) jokingly asked if Smokey is real, Zinke affirmed, "He's real to me."
Source: Ballotpedia.org: 2017 Trump transition confirmation hearings , Jan 18, 2017

Cleanup industrial sites; preserve open space

Source: Montana Congressional 2008 Political Courage Test , Nov 1, 2008

Voted YES to require GMO labeling.

Zinke voted YEA DARK Act

A BILL to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a national disclosure standard for bioengineered foods.

Cato Institute recommendation on voting YES: President Obama quietly signed legislation requiring special labeling for commercial foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs)--plants and animals with desirable genetic traits that were directly implanted in a laboratory. Most of the foods that humans & animals have consumed for millennia have been genetically modified, by cross-fertilization. Yet the new law targets only the highly precise gene manipulations done in laboratories. Anti-GMO activists oppose the new law because it preempts more rigorous regulation. And that's exactly the goal of this bill, to the frustration of the anti-GMO crowd.

JustLabelit.org recommendation on voting NO (because not restrictive enough): Senators Roberts (R-KS) and Stabenow (D-MI) introduced a compromise bill that would create a mandatory, national labeling standard for GMO foods. This bill falls short of what consumers expect--a simple at-a-glance disclosure on the package. As written, this compromise might not even apply to ingredients derived from GMO soybeans and GMO sugar beets. We in the consumer rights community have dubbed this the "Deny Americans the Right-to-Know" Act (DARK Act). We need to continue pressing for mandatory GMO labeling on the package.

Heritage Foundation recommendation on voting NO (because too restrictive): The House should allow [states, at their choice,] to impose [a more] restrictive labeling mandate, but prohibit the state from regulating out-of-state food manufacturers engaged in interstate commerce. Instituting a new, sweeping, federal mandate that isn't based on proven science shouldn't even be an option.

Legislative outcome: Passed by the Senate on July 7th, passed by the House on July 14th; signed by the President on July 29th

Source: Congressional vote 16-S0764 on Jun 23, 2016

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