Horse News

Wild Horse Hater “Dinky” Zinke seeks protections for public lands in his home state while attacking Utah monuments

Story by as published on Think

Interior Secretary has a two-faced approach to public lands protection

President Donald Trump plans to visit Utah on Monday where he is expected to sign an executive order calling for major reductions in the size of the Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. The dramatically smaller sizes of the two Utah national monuments would be based on recommendations made by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

As part of his review of national monuments across the United States, the Interior secretary did not recommend a reduction in the size of any in his home state of Montana. In fact, Zinke, who represented Montana in Congress prior to taking over as Interior secretary earlier this year, recommended that Trump create a new 130,000-acre national monument in the Badger-Two Medicine area of northwestern Montana.

Both Bears Ears and Badger-Two Medicine are of cultural significance to Native American tribes. But only one is in Zinke’s home state.

“Everything that Secretary Zinke does in Montana is 180 degrees from what he does to the rest of the country,” Center for Western Priorities spokesperson Aaron Weiss told ThinkProgress. “Montana gets special treatment because he would like to be governor there some day.” The Center for Western Priorities is a nonprofit conservation and advocacy organization for communities in the Western United States.

The Department of the Interior did not respond to ThinkProgress’ request for comment on Zinke’s decision to seek a new national monument in Montana.

Altogether, Zinke advised Trump to shrink the boundaries of at least four national monuments, none of them in Montana. Secrecy shrouded the Interior secretary’s review of the status of national monuments. The Interior Department has never made Zinke’s full report available to the public. The report, however, was leaked to the Washington Post in September. In the report, Zinke did not recommend a reduction in the size of the Upper Missouri River Breaks, the only national monument located in Montana on the list for review by the Interior secretary…(CONTINUED)

7 replies »

  1. We need to stop wasting taxpayers money rounding up the wild horses.
    Then we won’t have the problem of disposing of 30,000 horses in holding pens. Such a shame for these innocent wild horses. Stop this madness. Sterilize the females and release them back to their rightful wild homes!!
    Drain the swamp of wasting tax’s on roundin up wild horses and feeding and housing them. Let them go!!!



    If these folks are afraid of a national park and related impacts, how are they not even more alarmed about ramping up oil and gas and grazing impacts? Take a look at Google Earth around Farmington NM and SW Colorado to see what nearly unrestricted drilling sites look like, and imagine living downstrea or downwind of these. Notice also how many places are for sale in Farmington. Cause and effect? From the article linked above:

    “Talk to David Robinson, who runs 300 cattle on the ridge above Indian Creek, and he’ll tell you he’s thrilled Trump is reducing the monument. Talk to Bruce Adams, the county commissioner who sometimes wears a cowboy hat emblazoned with the words Make San Juan County Utah Great Again, and the word he uses to describe Trump’s decision is “ecstatic.” And stop by the Conoco Gas Station in Monticello, where farmers sometimes sit to discuss the drought or the price of hay, and you’ll hear little positive about Obama or Clinton declaring Grand Staircase or Bears Ears as national monuments. “They’re scared about losing their way of life,” says Adams, who is also a cattle rancher.

    The fear, Adams says, is that national monuments often become national parks (as happened with the Grand Canyon and four of Utah’s five national parks), and bit by bit cowboys will lose access to land their families have used for generations to graze cattle.” …

    “David Robinson, who runs a ranch adjacent to Heidi Redd’s place says that whenever he asks the Bureau of Land Management what the future holds for the 10,000 acres he leases from them they say they won’t know until Trump makes a decision.

    And yet, legal scholars say whatever Trump declares will offer little clarity, at least in the long run. While presidents have twice reduced the size of national monuments, they’ve never reduced them as drastically as Trump intends to do with Grand Staircase and Bears Ears.

    “To reduce and to reduce on the scale Trump’s talking about would be totally unprecedented,” says John Leshy, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law who served in the Department of the Interior under Carter and Clinton. “There’s been nothing like it.”

    The action is likely to be challenged in court, perhaps immediately, and Leshy says those who say that the Antiquities Act does not give the president power to reduce a national monument “have a pretty powerful argument.”


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