Feel Good Sunday: A Veterans Day Prayer

“To those who look forward to a smile, a snicker and a little laugh on Sunday mornings I apologize, we will not be able to give that to you this morning.  Instead, we offer up warmth, moist eyes and a glow in your soul as I just cannot let Veterans Day drift off into the darkness for another year, not yet.

I cannot do it today, of all days, where spoiled, privileged, do-nothing ingrates take to a field to play a game we played as children and disrespect those who gave their lives so that they can make 30 times the annual salary of average Americans, just can’t do it.  Wrong place, wrong message, wrong audience…just plain wrong.

So today we offer a prayer that was given by a true American; one that pushes us forward to save the spirit of America and the National icons that we hold dear.  It is our duty, our mission and our obligation to give our all to save the last of our wild horses and burros for future generations to experience, to enjoy and to love.

For the sake of those who died to keep us free, we work with earnest to keep free the wild horses and burros of the United States of America, it is our calling.  God Bless.” ~ R.T.


Veteran’s Day Tribute: “12 Strong” America’s Horse Soldiers

“Each and every Veteran’s Day we attempt to highlight equine bravery that has helped to keep this country free and with that said, we usually land on telling the story of Sgt. Reckless, a little mare that attained the rank of Sgt. in the Marine Corp. during the Korean war.  But there have been so many other horses who have served bravely and some not all that long ago.  Which brings us to the upcoming release of the movie “12 STRONG” the unclassified true story of America’s first soldiers to enter Afghanistan after 9/11 and they did it on horseback.

We are not hyping a movie but instead applauding the telling of an important tale where horses were one of the most important components of battling for America’s freedom and sovereignty.

To all my fellow veterans, (both 2 and 4 legged) thank you for your sacrifice, your service and the pledge that you made to your commander-in-chief, country and God.  You are the backbone of our freedom and independence while being true role models for generations to come.  For you I stand with pride and tears in my eyes during the playing of the National Anthem.  May God bless you all.” ~ R.T.


Chris Hemsworth (“Thor,” “The Avengers” films) and Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road,” “Nocturnal Animals”) star in “12 Strong,” a powerful new war drama from Alcon Entertainment, Black Label Media and Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Based on the best-selling book Horse Soldiers, it is story of heroism based on true events that unfolded a world away in the aftermath of 9/11.

Award-winning director Nicolai Fuglsig directed the film, which is produced by legendary producer Jerry Bruckheimer (the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, “Black Hawk Down”), together with Molly Smith, Trent Luckinbill and Thad Luckinbill (“La La Land,” “Sicario”) under their Black Label Media banner. Oscar winner Ted Tally (“The Silence of the Lambs”) and Peter Craig (“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Parts 1 & 2”) wrote the screenplay, based on the acclaimed book by best-selling author Doug Stanton. The executive producers are Oscar nominees and Alcon principals Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson (“The Blind Side”), together with Chad Oman, Mike Stenson, Ellen H. Schwartz, Garrett Grant, Yale Badik, Val Hill and Doug Stanton.

“12 Strong” is set in the harrowing days following 9/11 when a U.S. Special Forces team, led by their new Captain, Mitch Nelson (Hemsworth), is chosen to be the first U.S. troops sent into Afghanistan for an extremely dangerous mission. There, in the rugged mountains, they must convince Northern Alliance General Dostum (Navid Negahban) to join forces with them to fight their common adversary: the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies. In addition to overcoming mutual distrust and a vast cultural divide, the Americans—accustomed to state-of-the-art warfare—must adopt the rudimentary tactics of the Afghan horse soldiers. But despite their uneasy bond, the new allies face overwhelming odds: outnumbered and outgunned by a ruthless enemy that does not take prisoners.

House Committee Chairman Attacks Reporter for Doing His Job

By Greg Zimmerman as published on Medium’s Westwise

Rep. Rob Bishop goes after Washington Post’s accurate account of Bishop’s legislative agenda

Utah Congressman Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has made no secrets about his disdain for America’s foundational conservation laws.

On the Endangered Species Act: “I would be happy to invalidate [it].”

On the Antiquities Act: “It is the most evil act ever invented.”

On the Land and Water Conservation Fund: it is a “slush fund” and we should instead “plow some money back into [the oil and gas industry] to make sure that it’s there.”

(See the bottom of this post for for a summary of each law and its importance to American conservation.)

Even though these positions are extremely unpopular with voters across the West and the American public, Congressman Bishop has built his political career proudly working to undermine national public lands and weakening or invalidating a slew of environmental laws.

That’s why it was so bizarre when the House Natural Resources Committee personally attacked a Washington Post reporter for simply writing a story about Rep. Bishop’s agenda. Darryl Fears, a reporter with more than three decades in the news business, published a piece about the congressman’s work on the Endangered Species Act. The article is summarized by the story’s headline:

Fears is reporting on the five pieces of legislation (HR 717, HR 3131, HR 1274, HR 2603, HR 424) that Rep. Bishop has moved through his committee to accomplish the stated goal of defanging and, ultimately, “invalidating” the Endangered Species Act.

Rather than owning his agenda, Rep. Bishop and his staff at the House Natural Resources Committee decided to attack Fears and his reporting. In its weekly email blast — The Source — the committee doesn’t dispute the accuracy of Fears’ story, but nonetheless accuses him of “fervently [swallowing] the tired shticks of the radical Left.”…(CONTINUED)

View story at Medium.com

Agreement Paves Way for Export of U.S. Horses to China

Source:  bloodhorse.com

Ky. Agriculture Commissioner Quarles praises resumption of equine exports to China.

Terry Branstad and Zhi Shuping after signing of an accord that allows the resumption of U.S. equine exports to China.  Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles (center) and KTA-KTOB executive director Chauncey Morris (left of Quarles) look on.  (photo: Kentucky Department of Agriculture)

by Bloodhorse Staff

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles praised the resumption of equine exports to China at a signing ceremony in Beijing Nov. 6.

The agreement, signed by U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad and Minister Zhi Shuping of the People’s Republic of China, clears the way for the U.S. to export horses, including Thoroughbreds, to China, where a rapidly expanding racing industry has emerged.

“Today’s announcement is a game-changer for Kentucky’s horse industry,” said Quarles, who attended the signing ceremony in China. “This policy change is the result of work on the part of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and will greatly benefit our economy and workers. Today’s announcement is a victory for everyone in the Bluegrass State and all of Kentucky agriculture, from those who raise horses to the farmers who supply their feed.”

In 2015 the Chinese Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) placed a hold on the importation of live horses from America because of concerns about equine infectious anemia, a viral disease spread by blood-feeding insects and potentially fatal to members of the horse family.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association-Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, the American Quarter Horse Association, Keeneland Association, U.S. Livestock Genetics Export, and Quarles worked together to address concerns in China about equine infectious anemia. The effort began with a visit to China in the fall of 2016. Earlier this year, Quarles hosted a Chinese delegation in Kentucky for a site visit.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Dr. Ann Marini to discuss the drugs that the BLM gives to wild horses & burros (Wed., Nov. 8, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio)

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Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us for Wild Horse Wednesdays®, this Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017

5:00 p.m. PST … 6:00 p.m. MST … 7:00 p.m. CST … 8:00 p.m. EST

This radio show was hacked.  Our apologies to people who were unable to listen to the show.

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

Our guest tonight is Ann Marini, Ph.D., M.D. and she will be talking about the drugs that the Bureau of Land Management gives to wild horses and burros.  We compiled a list of drugs from information on FOIA requests and from verification by BLM staff.

Dr Marini earned both her Ph.D. degree from the Department of Biochemistry, 1978, and her medical degree from the Georgetown School of Medicine in 1980.  She completed a residencies in medicine at UMASS Worcester, Massachusetts; 1980-1983; and in Neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, 1983-1986.  She was a Senior Staff Fellow at NINDS/NIMH, 1986-1993.  Her research interests include neuropharmacology, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, Mechanisms of Neuronal Cell Death and Neuronal Intrinsic Survival Pathways.  Dr. Marini’s group published the peer-review article: Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: A public health risk authored by Nicholas Dodman, Nicolas Blondeau and Ann M. Marini and this manuscript was published in the peer-review journal Food and Chemical Toxicology in 2010.

This show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey (V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs) of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com

TO LISTEN TO ALL ARCHIVED WILD HORSE & BURRO RADIO SHOWS, CLICK HERE.

To find out more about Wild Horse Freedom Federation and our work to keep wild horses and burros wild and free on our public lands visit www.WildHorseFreedomFederation.org

Donate Here: http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/donate/

Continue reading

Scandals Pile up for Interior Secretary Zinke

by Rebecca Worby as published on HCN.org

“This article does a very good job of chronicling the current and ever growing list of  ‘Dinkie’ Zinke’s indiscretions and questionable behavior but it falls short of describing his checkered and horse hating past.  We will bring information forward that provide verification that Dinkie does not only hold disdain in his heart for the American tax payer but also harbors a sick blood-lust for our equine companions be they domestic or wild.  He needs to be removed from his position before he forever damages the beauty of our public lands and the wild life that lives therein, he has got to go.” ~ R.T.


Ryan Zinke faces a range of accusations, and some investigations are underway.

In recent weeks, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has taken a lot of heat for his decisions. Conservation groups have lambasted him over the secretiveness of his department’s monuments review. The final review has yet to be made public, though a draft of the report leaked to the press in September. Conservationists have also critiqued his moves to undo years of collaborative planning for sage grouse protection.

Amid all this, several events have come to light that raise questions about Zinke’s ethical practices. The now-revoked Whitefish Energy contract for grid repair in Puerto Rico — though the tiny firm hails from his hometown, Zinke denies any involvement — is only the latest example. Some of his rumored transgressions have quickly dissipated; for example, he reportedly laughed off claims that he threatened Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan before a health care vote. He tweeted a photo of himself and Murkowski sharing beers a few days later. But some of the controversies — including allegations that Zinke has mixed professional and personal business, dodged campaign finance laws and generally demonstrated dubious ethics — have led watchdog groups to call for investigations. Here are the Zinke scandals we’re watching…(CONTNUED)

Click the link to read more about Dinkie Zinke and his exploits:

http://www.hcn.org/articles/scandals-pile-up-for-interior-secretary-zinke

Stop the Execution Order for Wild Horses and Burros

In Defense of Animals has produced a one click means of contacting your U.S. Senators

Photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild horses and burros are facing the greatest peril since the mid twentieth century, when hundreds of thousands were run down or shot from helicopters and made into pet food. The government is now making moves to gut legal protections intended to stop mass wild horse killings so they can kill wild equines and push them to the brink of extinction. We can’t let this happen!

The Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burros Act gives wild horses and burros the right to live freely on public lands, but they now occupy only a small fraction, while cows and sheep are grazed by ranchers on the vast majority. The Bureau of Land Management has removed wild equines from 22 million acres historically designated for their use and continues the relentless roundups that are dangerous for horses and expensive for taxpayers. This failed policy causes population spikes and leads to more suffering.

The majority of Americans oppose equine slaughter and want wild horses and burros to be protected, not eradicated.

In July, the House Appropriations Committee flaunted the will of the people under the guise of cost-saving and “population control.” It approved an amendment by Representative Chris Stewart of Utah that authorizes “euthanizing” healthy wild horses and burros, unlimited selling of those held captive including sending them to slaughterhouses, and lethally removing “excess” wild horses on the range.

In essence, the House version of the 2018 budget bill for the Department of Interior calls for government-sponsored extinction of wild horses and burros.

Lawmakers who approved the mass horse execution are doing the bidding of the ranchers, extractive industry executives, and trophy hunters who want to use more and more of our public lands for their private gain. This rich, greedy lobby put its muscle and money into persuading House members to choose eradication and slaughter.

Supporters of In Defense of Animals and allied advocate organizations have spoken up, but we are in an uphill fight. In a few days, the Senate Appropriations Committee will decide whether or not America’s wild horses and burros will fall victims to this despicable plan. We can make a difference with bold, timely action!

What you can do:

 

 

1) If your senator is on the Appropriations Committee, please call his/her office. If your state is not represented on the committee, call one of more of the key senators starred. State your name, telephone number and organization you’re affiliated with, if any. Be courteous and respectful.

You may wish to say:

Wild horses and burros are living memorials to our history and love of freedom. They do not deserve to pay with their lives for government mismanagement. Americans do not want to go back to the days of mass extermination.

Please reject the House-passed Stewart amendment language. I ask you to maintain the Congressional ban on killing or euthanizing healthy wild horses and burros and on unlimited sales of captive animals. We want solutions, not slaughter!

Senator

Phone

(CHAIR) Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)  202-224-5054
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)  202-224-5744
* Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)  202-224-6665
Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) 202-224-4843
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)  202-224-3841
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)  202-224-4041
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)  202-224-5042
* Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) 202-224-3041
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HW)  202-224-3934
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)  202-224-2152
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)  202-224-6521
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)  202-224-2541
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)  202-224-4623
* Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)  202-224-2523
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)  202-224-4654
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)  202-224-5721
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)  202-224-2644
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT)  202-224-2651
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)  202-224-2841
* (RANKING) Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) 202-224-6621
Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)  202-224-2551
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)  202-224-5754
* Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)  202-224-3753
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)  202-224-4642
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)  202-224-5972
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)  202-224-4944
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 202-224-0238
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)  202-224-2621
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) 202-224-5653
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)  202-224-6472
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)  202-224-3954

Click (HERE) to go to Letter

https://secure2.convio.net/ida/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=3124

‘Feel Good Sunday’ Video: Bride’s Horse Stole the Spotlight by Grinning

“It’s time to recharge our batteries and validate why we do what we do and this Sunday we have the recipe to bring just such a feeling of warmth into your day.  There’s more to the story, below, than just a smile; it is a tale of honor, respect and love with a special twist of joy that only an equine companion can bring.  It is truly an honor and blessing to be a guardian for such majestic beings.  They humble me.” ~ R.T.


by Sabrina Rojas Weiss on Yahoo News

When you’re in a wedding party, you absolutely don’t want to upstage the bride — especially not in her photos. Someone forgot to tell this to Cricket, who was grinning ear-to-ear as she posed with bride Patti Womer before her ceremony in September.

“I honestly don’t mind having attention on her instead of me. Dutch and Cricket are such a big part of me, and I will always have a special place in my heart for them,” Womer tells Yahoo Lifestyle. She’s not speaking indulgently of her bridesmaids, of course, but of her two horses, who escorted her up to the ceremony in a field of sunflowers at Mt. Pleasant Mills in Pennsylvania.

Dutch, a sorrel gelding, and Cricket, a paint mare, were the first horses she and her dad bought together when Womer was 8 years old. Though her father passed away in May 2016, she found a way to represent him in her wedding. As she rode Cricket, she walked Dutch, her father’s horse, with an empty saddle next to her.

“This just showed that my father was there with me through the whole thing,” says Womer, an agriculture science major at Penn State University.

Photographing a horse at a wedding wasn’t anything new for photographer Tony Bendele, who has done his share of wildlife photography too. “I’m very used to working with animals, but I’ve never seen a horse doing the smile like that,” Bendele tells Yahoo. “It actually caught my eye initially when we first started doing the photographs. As the bride was smiling the horse would look up and put its teeth just like that.”

Womer isn’t entirely convinced Cricket was grinning for the camera. “Honestly, the horse is just shaking her head trying to get a fly off or something but with her showing her teeth, it looks like she is smiling.”

Bendele has posted Cricket and Womer’s photo to his Facebook page a few times since the wedding, finding his followers love the horse’s expression as much as he does. A photo like that may encourage others to try to incorporate their animals, big and small, into their ceremonies. This is something he recommends only if you’re certain of how the animals will react to noise and large crowds.

“We had an experience back in 2016 where we had a bride come down in a carriage and they were going to walk it down the aisle,” he recalls. “As soon as one of the horses got close to the people, somebody had their back turned to it and then turned around and scared it, so it took off and actually flipped the carriage.”

Luckily, the bride emerged unscathed in that case. Overall, Bendele says horses are better behaved than another mainstay of wedding photographs: “Sometimes the kids are a lot harder to handle than the animals.”

Greatest Wedding Photo EVER ~ Photo: Tony Bendele Photography

Livestock grazing extremists obscure real-world solutions

by Debbie Coffey

In my opinion…

We need to find a fix for the unhealthy populations of non-native, domestic cattle and sheep on public lands.

Imagine a proposal to introduce privately owned livestock onto the public lands of the American West.  The owners of the privately owned livestock would successfully gain use of 229 million acres of public lands in the West.   The livestock would be owned by a politically powerful industry that attracted a passionate following — people who love using public lands for their private profit so much that they influence the federal management of their privately owned animals so that they would rarely, if ever, be restricted by law.  Some of them would be so passionate that they would take over and occupy government buildings for 41 days, and end up costing taxpayers at least $9 million, including $2.3 million on federal law enforcement and $1.7 million to replace damaged or stolen property.

The downside of these privately owned livestock would be that they destroy native vegetation, damage soils and stream banks, and contaminate waterways with fecal waste.  After decades of livestock grazing, once-lush streams and riparian forests have been reduced to flat, dry wastelands; once-rich topsoil has been turned to dust, causing soil erosion, stream sedimentation and wholesale elimination of some aquatic habitats; overgrazing of native fire-carrying grasses has starved some western forests of fire, making them overly dense and prone to unnaturally severe fires.  Not to mention that predators like the grizzly and Mexican gray wolf were driven extinct in southwestern ecosystems by “predator control” programs designed to protect the livestock industry.

Livestock grazing of privately owned livestock on public lands is promoted, protected and subsidized by federal agencies.  A new analysis  finds U.S. taxpayers have lost more than $1 billion over the past decade on a program that allows cows and sheep to graze on public land.  Last year alone taxpayers lost $125 million in grazing subsidies on federal land.  Had the federal government charged fees similar to grazing rates on non-irrigated private land, the program would have made $261 million a year on average rather than operate at a staggering loss, the analysis finds.

Costs and Consequences: The Real Price of Livestock Grazing on America’s Public Lands

Just imagine what would happen if this livestock industry continued to thrive while all other natural resources were exhausted and while wildlife starved, died of thirst or became extinct.

Clearly, this is a difficult scenario to support.  Congress needs to overhaul the outdated livestock grazing program and reign in the use of livestock grazing on public lands.  These “welfare ranchers” treat public lands as if they are their own private lands and don’t want to share public lands with wildlife (unless that wildlife can be hunted).  The Bureau of Land Management is supposed to to “maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple use relationship” but it heavily favors the livestock grazing industry, even though livestock grazing has damaged 80 percent of the streams and riparian ecosystems in the West.

There are currently very powerful lobbying efforts using misinformation to convince Congress to “euthanize” (kill) or sterilize over 46,000 wild horses and burros in BLM holding facilities, and tens of thousands more on public lands.  But what about the millions of privately owned cattle and sheep on public lands?

There was recently a secretive meeting (closed to the public) in Salt Lake City, Utah, called the National Wild Horse & Burro Summit.  The only groups invited were special interest groups that promote livestock grazing, and academia/universities who rely on money from these special interest groups and government agencies who favor these special interest groups.  The Summit focused on the supposed damage done by wild horses and burros on public lands, while ignoring the real source of the widespread and well documented damage to water and rangeland ecosystems:  domestically owned livestock.   Since they talked about killing our wild horses and burros, this conference was aptly dubbed the “Slaughter Summit.”

Cattle slurping up water in the West (photo: EPA)

Go to the websites of the livestock industry, and you’ll notice that there’s no mention that millions of domestically owned livestock graze on public lands and overgraze or harm wildlife species.  There is no mention that cattle and sheep are not native to North America, since they arrived on Spanish and English ships about 500 years ago.

These extremists try to justify their interests by claiming they grow food, but only 3% of beef grown in the U.S. is grazed on public lands.  Most privately owned livestock graze on privately owned land.

The wild horse & burro population estimates used by these special interest groups are compiled by the BLM and have been found to be scientifically impossible, since the BLM, per its own population estimates, has claimed some wild horse herds increased by as much as 750% or 1250% in only one year.

Fringe “cowboys” have been effective at lobbying for the slaughter of old, unadoptable – or really any – horses.  The BLM has taken away over 22 million acres from Herd Areas, which were supposed to be the federally protected areas for wild horses and burros, and allows livestock grazing on most of the remaining, smaller Herd Management Areas (in addition to millions of other acres on public lands).

It’s easy for people in the other 40 states to be swayed by the livestock grazing extremists.  They look like real cowboys.  But many “ranchers” are large corporations.  Their efforts are responsible for the current situation, in which taxpayers support their private businesses of grazing millions of privately owned livestock on public lands, leaving us with no end in sight, not in numbers, not in funding, not in ecological damage.  What is a real-world solution?

Along with Wanting to Slaughter America’s Wild Horses and Burros, Ryan Zinke is Erasing ‘Public’ from Lands He’s Meant to Guard

as published in The Seattle Times

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s actions show his priority is to fossil-fuels companies and whether they will be able to profitably access the public lands they’ve long relied on for cheap natural resources.

‘Dinky’ Zinke, “I’ve had a hankering to slaughter those wild horses and burros for years. Just check my past record, it speaks for itself you turkeys.”

Shortly after taking office in March, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke declared his department would work on increasing access to America’s public lands. This sounded laudable — of course it should be easier for Americans to visit and enjoy our forests, mountains, deserts and rivers. But there was a catch: Secretary Zinke wasn’t really interested in making it easier for families to visit our public lands, only in greasing the skids for the industries that exploit those same lands.

Last week the National Park Service announced it intends to raise the entrance fees at the 17 most popular national parks to $70 per vehicle starting next year. This would almost triple the entry fee to Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks, the two parks in our state that would be impacted. The price of a weeklong entry pass for a noncommercial vehicle would go up to an astounding $70 under the proposal, from the current $25.

This proposal, if implemented, will be a de facto barrier to entry for many of us wishing to visit some of the country’s grandest landscapes. National Parks visitation already skews whiter and older than the general population. The Interior Department has acknowledged this must change if our national park system is to remain relevant. But raising entrance fees by 180 percent will only further skew the demographics of park visitation.

Two other moves by Zinke show he is worried whether fossil fuels companies will be able to profitably access the public lands they’ve long relied on for cheap natural resources.

Back in March, Zinke rescinded the federal moratorium on coal leases on public land. The halt had no effect on existing coal leases or mining but prohibited the Interior Department from offering new leases. The moratorium had been put in place last year by Sally Jewell, the previous Interior Secretary under President Barack Obama, so that the department could evaluate coal’s impact on climate change (40 percent of U.S. coal comes from public lands).

Zinke, however, scoffed at the notion of a societal cost of carbon and claimed the moratorium was unnecessary. He quickly cleared this impediment to coal companies’ access to the resource under public lands.

Then, in August, he repealed an Obama administration rule that ended a scam coal, oil and gas companies had long relied on to make deceitfully small royalty payments to the federal treasury.

The rule put an end to the practice of these companies extracting natural resources from public lands, selling the resources to affiliated companies at artificially small markups, and then having the affiliates resell the materials at a substantially higher price. Royalties paid to the public were calculated on the low initial sales price to the affiliates rather than on the price of the resource on the open market.

After receiving “numerous comments from the regulated community,” Zinke repealed the rule. Fossil-fuels companies can once again shortchange the public out of its royalties.

What truly rankles about Zinke’s selective concern for public-lands access is that the additional revenues raised from jacking up park entrance fees would be more than lost by canceling the rule that had fixed the royalty scam. Interior estimates higher entrance fees would raise an additional $70 million, while Taxpayers for Common Sense has calculated lost annual revenue from reopening the royalty loophole at $75 million.

We can expect to see more examples of this one-sided concern for public lands access. Last month came reports that President Donald Trump will follow through on Zinke’s recommendation to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. Shrinking the monuments would open up additional public lands to fossil-fuels development while doing nothing to make those lands more accessible to the general public.

Be aware, when Zinke talks of improving public access to federal lands, he has an extremely narrow subset of the public in mind.

 What can we do? The good news is there’s still time for the public to fight back the proposed fee increase, as the National Park Service is taking comments until Nov. 23. More broadly, Congress needs to prohibit the Department of the Interior from giving special access to the fossil-fuels industries through rules that enable and encourage profiteering on our public lands.