Zinke Proclaims Sportsmen ‘Greatest Conservationists’ Before Signing Big Game Habitat Order

Written by Joseph Witham as published on The St George News

“…revising wild horse and burro-appropriate management levels or removing horses and burros from winter range or migration corridors if they degrade habitat…”

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan “Dinky” Zinke helps tag a mule deer near Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 9, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Interior Department, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — While in Utah Friday, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke helped tag mule deer near Salt Lake City before appearing at a hunting expo to sign a secretarial order intended to improve big game habitat in the Western U.S.

While tagging the deer, Zinke said he noted that a recently developed neighborhood nearby likely supplanted habitat that would have previously supported a herd of 300 deer.

In recognition of the impact growing human populations in the West have on big game migration, Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3362, designed to improve habitat quality and Western winter range and migration corridors ​for antelope, elk and mule deer.

The order also calls for greater collaboration among federal management agencies, states, private landowners and scientists to develop guidelines to help ensure healthy big game populations.

Joined by Utah Division of Wildlife Director Mike Fowlks and Mule Deer Foundation President Miles Moretti, Zinke signed the order before a gathered crowd at the Western Conservation and Hunting Expo in Salt Lake City.

At the conference, Zinke said management plans like the ones in the order are made possible from the billions in revenue generated by hunters and fishers buying tackle, ammunition and other gear.

“There is no greater conservationist than our sportsman,” he said.

“American hunters are the backbone of big game conservation efforts,” Zinke said, “and now working with state and private landowners, the department will leverage its land management and scientific expertise to both study the migration habits of wildlife as well as identify ways to improve the habitat.”

Zinke said a collaborative approach is necessary to implement the habitat protection and improvement goals of the order, given the migration patterns of big game species that cross over thousands of miles on all types of land.

In Southern Utah, mule deer travel up to 110 miles from Bryce Canyon National Park into the Arizona strip area. They cross state, private, tribal, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service land. Part of the order’s goal is to address challenges encountered along the pathways of these migratory routes.

Specifically, the order proposes development of an action plan with the following goals:

  • Restoring degraded winter range and migration corridors by removing encroaching trees from sagebrush ecosystems, rehabilitating areas damaged by fire and treating invasive vegetation.
  • Revising wild horse and burro-appropriate management levels or removing horses and burros from winter range or migration corridors if they degrade habitat.
  • Working with private landowners and state highway departments to achieve permissive fencing measures, including working with ranchers to modify fencing.
  • Avoiding or minimizing development in the most crucial winter range or migration corridors during sensitive seasons.
  • Working with states on sagebrush restoration.

The order prioritizes public land management in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming​.​

“I’m not an advocate for ever selling or transferring public lands, but I am an advocate for management,” Zinke said, adding that the order emphasizes input from individual states.

The Center for Western Priorities, a conservation group, acknowledged that it’s important to plan for wildlife migration but noted that Zinke has inflicted major damage to lands by supporting the oil industry and recommending reductions to national monuments, the Associated Press reported.

“We won’t allow the secretary and his staff to greenwash this abysmal record with meager policy crumbs,” group Deputy Director Greg Zimmerman said in a statement.

The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, blasted the decision as nothing more than “bureaucratic window dressing” to cover up damage Zinke has done to the habitat.

“If Secretary Zinke were serious about increasing America’s wildlife populations, he would stand by Western governors’ protections for sagebrush country, restore public input on drilling decisions, and stand up for America’s national monuments and wildlife refuges instead of selling them out,” the organization said in a statement.

Zinke said environmental groups that criticize his monument recommendation are using “nefarious” and “false” claims. He said “every inch” of the lands stripped from the monuments are still protected under other designations.

Associated Press reporter Brady McCombs contributed to this report.

http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2018/02/09/jcw-zinke-proclaims-sportsmen-greatest-conservationists-before-signing-big-game-habitat-order/#.Wn59zIJG3OQ

The Mad King Flies His Flag

Opinion by Timothy Egan as published on The New York Times

“They call me ‘Dinky’ Zinke?”

The emperor of the outdoors rode into town on a horse named Tonto, and soon demanded that his own special flag fly outside his headquarters whenever he was in Washington.

He believes fracking is proof that “God loves us” and, despite being from Montana, doesn’t know how to properly set up his fly line when fishing in front of the cameras.

“He had rigged his reel backward,” Elliott D. Woods wrote of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in a wonderful profile in Outside Magazine. “Seems like an inconsequential thing, but in Montana, it’s everything.”

As it turned out, it was quite consequential. When the magazine next tried to dial into an Interior conference call, it was denied access.

You may think that Stormy Daniels is in charge of the natural world under Donald Trump. And yes, the boorish behavior of the president and the porn star makes for better reading than an account of the quack running Interior.

But if someone were trashing your house, you’d want to pay attention. And Trump, using the very strange Zinke, is going after the sacred foundations of America’s much-loved public lands, brick by brick.

Zinke has been called the Gulfstream Cowboy for his love of using charter planes to fly off to the nesting grounds of wealthy donors. But he’s more like a mad king. And this monarch has control over the crown jewels of America’s public land.

They are not in safe hands.

Last month, the secretary attacked Patagonia, the outdoor retailer, after it protested the largest rollback of public land protection in our history with a website home page of a black screen and stark message: “The President Stole Your Land.”

It is your land, all 400 million acres of it, though you wouldn’t know by the way the Trump administration has ceded control to the private predators from the oil, gas, coal and uranium industries.

It is also your water, the near entirety of the outer continental shelf that Trump is opening to extractive drilling. Almost a dozen states have protested. The waters off the coast of Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, were given an exemption after Zinke met with the governor, who said drilling was bad for tourism. Your public servant at work.

Zinke is upending a century of bipartisan values as part of a Trumpian culture war. When asked why the president shrank national monuments in the Southwest by two million acres, Zinke said it was a way to strike back against “an elitist sort of hunter and fisherman.” Huh?

Could this be the same regular guy who took a helicopter to ride horses with Mike Pence? The cabinet member who wants to charge $70 to get into our most iconic national parks? The man whose nomination was championed by Donald Trump Jr., elephant killer and dictionary definition of elite hunter and fisherman?

Defenders of public land have pushed back. This week, a majority of the nonpartisan National Park Service advisory panel resigned in frustration. The board, federally chartered to help guide the service, said Zinke had refused to convene a single meeting with the members last year. Silly bird-lovers. Don’t they know you need to charter a plane for Zinke if you want to get his attention?

A much less-connected group, the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, responded with an essay from a board member who lives in a 500-square-foot abode in the Rocky Mountains. “We hunt, gather, garden, can, smoke, dry, jelly and pickle as much of our own food as we can,” wrote Tom Healy. “According to Mr. Secretary, I am an elitist.”

The writer is from Whitefish, Zinke’s hometown in Montana. Where have you heard that before? Ah, yes, a tiny energy company from Whitefish with two employees — three if you count Zinke’s kid when he was an intern on a side project — finagled a $300 million, no-audit, no-bid contract to help rebuild Puerto Rico’s electric grid. Zinke said he had absolutely, positively nothing to do with it.

Look, it could have been worse: Sarah Palin was an early favorite for interior secretary. Zinke is an ex-Navy SEAL, and looks the part. Enough nutty things come out of his mouth to make him a perfect Trump guy.

“The government stops at the mailbox,” he said at a rally last year, “and if you come any further, you’re going to meet my gun.” Note to Mr. Secretary: Don’t shoot the sheriff, or the census taker.

It took a bribery scandal to bring down an interior secretary in the Teapot Dome affair of the 1920s. Today, the corruption is all upfront. Energy Secretary Rick Perry gives bear hugs to coal barons while doing all he can to have the government prop up their industry. The Environmental Protection Agency is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the polluters it is supposed to regulate.

Over at Interior, they haven’t yet figured a way to charge Americans for the air we breathe. But the next time Zinke’s flag is up, something may be in the works.

How Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke prompted a mass resignation from his National Park Service Advisory Board

Story

“The conservation community in general has not been invited in…”

Ryan ‘Dinky’ Zinke – “My Ego Really is THIS BIG!”

Few groups have been closer and more involved in Interior Department policy and management than the National Park System Advisory Board, an appointed and nonpartisan group established 83 years ago to consult on department operations and practices.

So it came as a shock this week when nine of the board’s 12 members abruptly resigned in protest, complaining that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had disregarded their requests to meet at least once, a circumstance no other Park System Advisory Board had encountered.

“We were deeply disappointed with the department’s actions in dealing with us,” said former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles, a Democrat who served as the board’s chairman. “Advisory board advice can be accepted or ignored. The fact they suspended the board and there were no meetings on issues of climate and science, no meetings on finding ways to help underrepresented groups visit the parks. Those were the programs we’d spent years working on with previous secretaries. Those were the programs we wanted to discuss with the new secretary and keep the momentum going.”

“We started talking last summer,” said Gretchen Long, an advisory board member from Wyoming who was appointed in 2010. “Is there any point to continuing to serve? We wanted to make a statement to the American public about the direction the department is taking and the stewardship of our parks and public land. These treasures are in trouble because of the actions the department has taken.”

She added that the board “encountered a lack of understanding that is appalling.”

The Interior Department did not respond to requests for comments from the secretary or a senior department leader.

In March, when he rode on a horse to his first day as secretary, Zinke sought to distinguish himself as a Cabinet member prepared, like the president, to be visible and disruptive. It was not clear at the time that he would manage the $13 billion-a-year department and its more than 60,000 employees with a tight executive circle far from public view.

Theresa Pierno, the chief executive of the National Parks Conservation Assn., a separate, nonprofit advocacy organization, said she and her colleagues had experienced the same difficulties in attracting the Interior secretary’s attention. In an interview on Wednesday, she said Zinke is the first Interior secretary to refuse to meet with her organization’s executives to discuss the operation and condition of national parks since the NPCA was founded in 1919 by Stephen Mather, the first National Park Service director.

“We haven’t been able to even have a conversation with them,” Pierno said. “The conservation community in general has not been invited in. Why wouldn’t you want to hear from an organization that has the history, the expertise like the NPCA? We’re nonpartisan. We have Republicans and Democrats on our board. There’s really no rational answer.”

Aside from marquee public events to announce changes in energy policy and public lands management, along with shrinking the boundaries of two national monuments in Utah, Zinke has kept a low public profile. But armed with presidential executive orders, departmental reports and conservative principles and values, he’s undertaken a major shift in his department’s operating program.

He eliminated climate science from programs to better manage the department’s 500-million-acre domain. He overturned a ban on coal mining on public lands and limited the reach of environmental safeguards for oil and gas leasing and development.

This month he opened nearly all of the outer continental shelf to oil exploration, although five days later he excused Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf shorelines from the offshore drilling plan.

At the National Park Service, the department’s largest division, Zinke proposed to more than double the entrance fees to popular parks, a move that could hinder the agency’s long-running efforts to encourage more minorities to visit some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes.

Zinke’s supporters in and outside the administration credit the 56-year-old former Republican congressman from Montana with eliminating what they viewed as aggravating restrictions and restoring the department’s traditional role in managing public land for multiple uses.

“The president promised the American people that their voices would be heard and that we would prioritize American interests,” Zinke said in a year-end statement that cataloged the most important accomplishments he’d supervised. “This year the Department of the Interior has made good on those promises. We are striking the right balance to protect our greatest treasures and also generate the revenue and energy our country needs.”

Across the country, the department’s policies are viewed differently by conservation groups, many mayors and governors, and innumerable residents. They assert that Zinke has installed management and oversight practices that needlessly put national parks, wildlife refuges, recreation areas, and monuments in harm’s way.

The approach has also been different from what President Trump said he was intent on pursuing. In early December, while announcing his decision to shrink the boundaries of Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, Trump told an audience in Salt Lake City that his administration was open to extensive citizen involvement in public lands decisions. “Under my administration, we will advance that protection through a truly representative process, one that listens to the local communities that knows the land the best and that cherishes the land the most.”

Under Zinke, though, the Interior Department has been dismantling public lands initiatives recommended by citizen groups representing local governments, land users, recreational industry representatives, Native Americans, and environmental organizations. In 2010, for instance, the Obama administration established what it called a “master leasing program,” a collaboration between the Bureau of Land Management and local governments, businesses, and citizen groups.

The idea was to help the BLM incorporate better environmental safeguards in its oil and gas leasing auctions in western states. In 2017, Zinke ordered an end to the program.

Another indication of Zinke’s different approach from previous Interior secretaries is how many executive level Interior Department positions are not filled. The National Park Service, for instance, does not have a director and the administration has not nominated a candidate. The National Parks Conservation Association says it is the first time that has occurred since the National Park Service was established in 1916.

More Dinky Zinke Stuff:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/01/22/zinke-to-sign-land-swap-deal-allowing-road-through-alaskas-izembek-wilderness/?utm_term=.4f2d473645fb

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/zinke-proof-research-shares_us_5a60e1fae4b0b3f7fa12c397

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/08/04/zinke-and-the-welfare-ranchers-subsidies-for-us-but-not-for-thee/

http://zinkesdirtydeals.com/

The Damage Done by Trump’s Department of the Interior

by Elizabeth Kolbert as published in The New Yorker

Under Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Interior, it’s a sell-off from sea to shining sea.

“Killing Innocent Animals is KOOL!” ~ Dinky Zinke

On his first day as Secretary of the Interior, last March, Ryan Zinke rode through downtown Washington, D.C., on a roan named Tonto. When the Secretary is working at the department’s main office, on C Street, a staff member climbs up to the roof of the building and hoists a special flag, which comes down when Zinke goes home for the day. To provide entertainment for his employees, the Secretary had an arcade game called Big Buck Hunter installed in the cafeteria. The game comes with plastic rifles, which players aim at animated deer. The point of the installation, Zinke has said, is to highlight sportsmen’s contribution to conservation. “Get excited for #hunting season!” he tweeted, along with a photo of himself standing next to the game, which looks like a slot machine sporting antlers.

Nowadays, it is, in a manner of speaking, always hunting season at the Department of the Interior. The department, which comprises agencies ranging from the National Park Service to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, oversees some five hundred million acres of federal land, and more than one and a half billion acres offshore. Usually, there’s a tension between the department’s mandates—to protect the nation’s natural resources and to manage them for commercial use. Under Zinke, the only question, from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters, is how fast these resources can be auctioned off.

One of Zinke’s first acts, after dismounting from Tonto, was to overturn a moratorium on new leases for coal mines on public land. He subsequently recommended slashing the size of several national monuments, including Bears Ears, in Utah, and Gold Butte, in Nevada, and lifting restrictions at others to allow more development. (In December, acting on these recommendations, President Donald Trump announced that he was cutting the area of the Bears Ears monument by more than three-quarters and shrinking the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument, also in Utah, by almost half.) Zinke has also proposed gutting a plan, years in the making, to save the endangered sage grouse; instead of protecting ten million acres in the West that had been set aside for the bird’s preservation, he’d like to see them given over to mining. And he’s moved to scrap Obama-era regulations that would have set more stringent standards for fracking on federal property.

All these changes have been applauded by the oil and gas industries, and many have also been praised by congressional Republicans. (Before Zinke became Interior Secretary, he was a one-term congressman from Montana.) But, to some members of the G.O.P., Zinke’s recent decision to open up great swaths of both coasts to offshore oil and gas drilling represents a rig too far.

Last week, Zinke backtracked. Following a brief meeting with the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, at the Tallahassee airport, the Secretary said that he was removing that state’s coastal waters “from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms.” The move was manifestly political. In the past, Scott has supported drilling for oil just about everywhere, including in the Everglades, but, with Trump’s encouragement, he is now expected to challenge Florida’s senior senator, Bill Nelson, a Democrat, in November.

“Local voices count” is how Zinke explained the Florida decision to reporters, a remark that was greeted with jeers from elected officials in other states, who noted that some “local voices” were more equal than others. “Virginia’s governor (and governor-elect) have made this same request, but we have not received the same commitment,” Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, tweeted. “Wonder why.” Walter Shaub, the former head of the Office of Government Ethics, noted that the Florida coast happens to be home to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s winter White House cum dues-collecting club. He suggested that the Secretary “look up ‘banana republic’ ” and then “go fly a Zinke flag to celebrate making us one.”…(CONTINUED)

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/22/the-damage-done-by-trumps-department-of-the-interior/amp?__twitter_impression=true

His Former Commander Exposes Wild Horse Hater Ryan “Dinky” Zinke’s Navy SEAL Career and Defective “Moral Make-up”

By Don Progreba as published in The Montana Post on MAY 30th 2014

“Another installment in the Dinky Zinke Chronicles.  This was published in 2014 and points to Dinky Zinke being a scum-ball and stealing from the American Tax Payers to go home and visit Mommy YEARS AGO.  It appears that not a damn thing has changed and he obviously did not learn any lessons.  If Capt Bailey only knew, back then, how bad things would get.

Like the other horse eaters before him, Dinky needs to go.  Is ANYONE in the Administration listening out there?!?!?” ~ R.T.


“You gonna fly for FREE, baby!!!”

There have long been rumors about Senator Ryan Zinke’s tendency to both exaggerate his role as a Navy SEAL and to underplay the serious ethical violations that derailed his career, but given the privacy afforded those records, it’s always been difficult to detail the truth about Zinke’s career in the military.

Captain Larry Bailey, who commanded Zinke while he was in his SEAL class, recently wrote a letter detailing some of the problems with Zinke’s military career. What Bailey argues is what many of us who have watched Zinke’s career have also seen: “he is willing to do whatever it takes to reach the next level.”

In short, Bailey argues that Zinke misused Navy funds for personal travel and has inflated the importance of his role in Navy SEAL Team Six. Bailey writes, “He was never a commanding officer and was bypassed for possible consideration for promotion to captain as the result of his travel transgressions.”

No one here has questioned the value of Senator Zinke’s service to his nation in the military, but his tendency to inflate his own role and promote himself at the expense of the truth and even basic decency, has been the defining element of his political career.

Captain Bailey’s letter follows:

It is most unpleasant to write these words, as I have long considered myself a friend of Ryan Zinke.  In fact, he was in the first Basic UDT/SEAL (BUD/S) class to graduate under my command in 1985.  I remember him well and thought that he would have a stellar career.

He did have such a career until he showed a defect in his moral make-up, and the Left is already well aware of what he did, although perhaps not in so much detail as I go into.  They will, however, before the general election, so I have decided to anticipate them by providing this statement.

This information was provided to me by sources personally known to me and to those who were directly involved in the actions involving Ryan.

What did he do?  Simple—he used Navy (taxpayer) travel funds to make multiple trips from Norfolk, VA, to his home in MT, ostensibly to scout out training sites for his squadron.  The truth was that he went to work on some family property and, apparently, on one occasion, took two or three other Navy SEALs with him.

These trips not only involved airfare, but they also involved per diem and personal use of Navy time.  To his credit, Ryan, when confronted with his transgressions, admitted his culpability and paid back the funds he had expended.

Ryan’s moral failings, in my opinion, do not end with his being separated from his SEAL team over the travel scandal.  His political career has some questionable acts associated with it, to include his creation (with some heavy-hitting New York and Boston lawyers and PR people) of Special Operations for America (SOFA), a Political Action Committee, back in early 2012.  At that time, I sought out Ryan to work with me in establishing an umbrella organization of Special Operations Forces from all the services.

After looking carefully at the situation in which he was involved, I just didn’t feel comfortable getting hooked up with what was clearly going to be a high-donor operation and possibly geared to Ryan’s future political benefit.  That has turned out to be the case, as evinced by the fact that, almost immediately after Ryan declared his candidacy for the US House, he resigned as SOFA’s chairman and was given a grant from the very Political Action Committee he established.  That, to me, is not “conflict of interest;” it is “coincidence of interest.”

The account of what I have read about SOFA having its headquarters in property owned by the Zinke family that is across the street from the Zinke family home, further validates the “coincidence of interest” hypothesis.

As a retired Navy SEAL officer, I also take exception to the looseness with which Ryan described his Navy career. Depending on which bio one reads, he was “a” or “the” commander in a certain high-capability Navy SEAL Team. He was never a commanding officer and was bypassed for possible consideration for promotion to captain as the result of his travel transgressions.

He also has stated that former Cong. Allen West has endorsed his candidacy. I spoke with Colonel West personally and learned that, while he spoke kind words about Ryan, he did not endorse him. Subsequent to my conversation with him, Colonel West has made clear that that was not the case and will not be the case during the primary.

Having seen a heavily redacted copy of Ryan’s DD-214, which is a summary of his military career, I noted that, unlike his claim to have received two Bronze Stars for combat, he actually received them for meritorious service. Neither had the Combat “V” for Valor, which would have been the case had he earned the awards for combat.

The statement by a retired Navy SEAL Master Chief sums up the essence of Ryan’s character. The man told me personally that Ryan is PNG (persona non grata) at his old SEAL team, primarily for the misleading statements he has made about his rank and importance at that “special” team. That is a sad commentary on a man who had all the potential in the world and has, instead of coming clean about himself and his mistakes, tries to re-write his personal history in order to achieve political office.

I am certain that Ryan would have acquitted himself well if he had led his men in actual combat instead of being a theater manager of the combat units assigned to him.

I am sure that Ryan will do his best to rebut these serious allegations. He can prove me wrong by making his unredacted DD-214 available for public examination. I would like nothing better than to have been shown that I was wrong, but that won’t happen.

Why do I, a transplanted Texan living in NC, want to rupture more than one friendship over Ryan Zinke’s candidacy for the US House of Representatives? Simple—Ryan’s ambitions will not stop here. He has shown by his dissimulation of facts regarding his career that he is willing to do whatever it takes to reach the next level—in his case, the US Senate. I cannot abide that prospect, because THEN he is representing ME and every citizen of this land as a member of one of the world’s most prestigious deliberative bodies.

Larry Bailey

CAPT (SEAL), USN (Ret.)

Chocowinity, NC

https://themontanapost.com/2014/05/30/his-former-commander-exposes-ryan-zinkes-navy-seal-career-and-defective-moral-make-up/comment-page-1/