Criticism grows over Ryan “Dinky” Zinke’s pick to head wildlife service

“”Putting Combs in charge of the Fish and Wildlife Service is like appointing an arsonist as the town fire marshal,”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is appointing a top critic of endangered species protections the head of the agency charged with protecting the critters, while moving to remove protections from nearly 300 animals.

Susan Combs was supposed to serve as Zinke’s undersecretary for policy, but because of holdups in the Senate, he has chosen to appoint her as the acting head of the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The decision was taken last month, but news outlets began pointing out her hostility toward the Endangered Species Act on Wednesday. The Washington Post cited a statement in which she likened an animal being placed on the endangered list to a “Scud missile” — the weapon of choice of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

The Interior Department said Combs will serve as the acting assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife, until a deal can be reached to confirm her as the agency’s top policy official.

But that didn’t stop conservation groups and activists from pointing out Combs’ lack of compatibility with the goals of the Endangered Species Act.

“Putting Combs in charge of the Fish and Wildlife Service is like appointing an arsonist as the town fire marshal,” said Stephanie Kurose, an endangered species specialist with the Center for Biological Diversity.

The group is suing the Trump administration for the harm posed to species by President Trump’s proposed border wall.

The group on Wednesday used the media attention gathering against Combs to underscore a proposed rule that it argues would remove protections from almost 300 species.

The proposed rule was sent to the Office of Management and Budget on Monday for preliminary review. The rule would remove the blanket application for the Endangered Species Act’s section 4(d) decisions, which are used by the Fish and Wildlife Service to designate a species as threatened. The 4(d) designation is typically one step away from listing a species as endangered under the law.

“The Trump administration just issued a death sentence to nearly 300 threatened species,” said Noah Greenwald, the conservation group’s endangered species director. “If enacted, this rule could be the end for iconic wildlife like the northern spotted owl and southern sea otter.”

6 comments

  1. So one more “appointee” who wants nothing more than to take down the agency she is appoint to. So will she have to be confirmed by Congress or is this just Zinke saying I want it, therefore it will happen?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Combs served on the boards of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association in Fort Worth and the Texas Wildlife Association. She has also served on the boards the Texas Beef Council and the Texas Production Credit Association. She served as the Texas Agriculture Commissioner from 1999 to 2007. She grew up in a ranching family in West Texas. She runs a cow-calf operation on her family’s ranch in Brewster County, near Big Bend Park where hundreds of wild burros were shot by the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Is this the same Susan Combs who is a welfare rancher and received USDA subsidy payments totaling $41,870 since 2007 for her cattle ranch in Texas?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Stand up and fight for our animals and environment now. Why in the hell would anyone want to destroy our animals and environment your kids have got to live here on this earth for generations to come. God We need you now please help us amen.

    Liked by 1 person

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