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House Democrat says investigations await Interior Department despite Zinke’s resignation

“The issue is Interior, the issue is conservation, the issue is science, and the issue is our jurisdiction in protecting the many interests we have there, including Indian Country…”

Zinke: shrouded in corruption

The top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee said Tuesday that he has moved past personal attacks by former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and he would keep investigating Zinke’s tenure despite his resignation.

Asked by CNN’s Erin Burnett whether he would move on from Zinke’s insults, Grijalva said yes.

“Yes, because I think … he’s got serious problems that he has to deal with in terms of the investigations, in terms of the oversight our committee is going to do,” he said on “Erin Burnett OutFront.” “The issue is Interior, the issue is conservation, the issue is science, and the issue is our jurisdiction in protecting the many interests we have there, including Indian Country — so that’s the job ahead.”

When Grijalva called for Zinke to resign in an op-ed last month, Zinke shot back on Twitter that it was “hard for (Grijalva) to think straight from the bottom of the bottle.”

“This is coming from a man who used nearly $50,000 in tax dollars as hush money to cover up his drunken and hostile behavior. He should resign and pay back the taxpayer for the hush money and tens of thousands of dollars he forced my department to spend investigating unfounded allegations,” Zinke wrote in the tweet.

Grijalva was cleared of any wrongdoing in the settlement Zinke was referring to and the Arizona Democrat called the allegations “all fraudulent.”

The ranking Democrat — and likely committee chairman when Democrats take the House majority in January — said the House Natural Resources Committee would be seeking changes within a department that he said is “always about energy extraction” and led by people with “severe conflicts of interest, both inside Interior with Zinke and with other people that are part of his administration.”

“We’re going to be seeking some balance, bringing conservation and science back into the equation,” Grijalva said. “That’s going to be the effort and that’s going to require on occasion that we dig a lot deeper than just the surface material we get from Interior.”

Zinke “is gone, but I don’t think the culture in the place has changed so much these last two years … we have to go after that culture, too,” the congressman added.

When asked by Burnett if he would continue his exchanges with Zinke on a personal level, Grijalva said no.

“What’s the point?” he said. “You reach that conclusion, he’s gone, but his decision and the way he reached those decisions are still open to public review and public scrutiny.”

4 replies »

  1. I am concerned about the wild Horses & Burros, No more penning, roundups, taking these horses off the land they were born on. No Slaughter, horse meat, shipping to other countries ever. The darting is working for birth control, we do not have to be cruel. These animals are American, legends and they should remain our priority for the future of our country. Things are turning very Anti American in this country and that is so wrong. We have to think about the betterment of our country and less of those who are coming here and bringing their country with them. I hope the Indians in our country will ask for help with their horses. They are dropping dead by roadsides, animals are feeding on them, it is a mess. Very Very Sad.


    • Rita, please do research on PZP as birth control is not needed for wild horses. The NAS study found no evidence of an over-population , and 70% of the herds are not genetically viable .PZP even causes permanent sterility if multiple doses are given, and it destroys natural selection necessary for healthy wild horses.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Drill down deeper and cast a bigger net


    All the Secretary’s Men
    Ryan Zinke’s swamp-soaked stable of advisers.

    James Cason
    Associate Deputy Secretary of the Interior
    Before entering government, he worked at the Western Environmental Trade Association, a pro-industry group that lobbies against environmental regulations. While serving in Reagan’s Interior Department, Cason sold
    thousands of acres of Colorado land to oil and gas developers below market price.



    “Weber filed the lawsuit against Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who announced last week that he’s leaving the post, and Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, who’s replacing Zinke on a temporary basis.

    “If the National Park Service can discriminate and harass a female chief ranger, then there are no bounds and no protections for any employee,” Weber said in an interview this morning.

    Weber said Bernhardt had been made “personally aware of this case” before the lawsuit was filed.

    “I’m very disappointed that he has not taken steps to address the injustice in this case, and we call upon him to do so,” Weber said.

    The Interior Department declined to comment, referring questions to the Justice Department. Neither the National Park Service nor DOJ responded to a request for comment.

    The lawsuit alleges four separate counts of discrimination, retaliation and privacy violations against NPS and seeks a minimum of $400,000 for each of them, in addition to fees for attorneys. The lawsuit said Schonzeit was blackballed by colleagues after her superiors let it be known that she had filed a complaint with the agency’s Equal Employment Opportunity office.

    Weber said his client had exhausted all administrative remedies, with her EEO complaint denied in September by the agency’s Office of Civil Rights.

    Schonzeit then had 90 days to file her suit after that decision, which prompted Weber to do so today, acting before a possible federal government shutdown that could affect U.S. court operations.

    The complaint noted that Interior and NPS have long acknowledged a culture of sexual harassment. Last year, Zinke released an employee survey that found nearly 40 percent of the agency’s employees had experienced some form of harassment in the prior year.”

    Liked by 1 person

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