December 18, 2018

Bishop Sends Letter to Secretary Zinke Over Department Misconduct Policies

From the House Committee on Natural Resources”

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 4, 2018 –

Today, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) sent a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, requesting documents and information regarding the Department’s workplace misconduct policies and improvements that have taken place.

“The Committee is conducting ongoing oversight of employee misconduct issues at the U.S. Department of the Interior (Department).  The Department employs approximately 70,000 people in 2,400 operating locations [and] those entrusted to execute [the Department’s] responsibilities should be held to the highest ethical and professional standards…

On February 2, 2017, the Committee wrote to then-Acting Secretary Jack Haugrud to express concerns about the several years of disturbing cases of employee misconduct at the Department

One such case highlighted in the Committee’s February 2, 2017 letter was that of former Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Office of Law Enforcement Supervisory Agent Dan Love.  Mr. Love’s behavior was symptomatic of the Department’s previous culture of mismanagement, which turned a blind eye to his corruption and abuse of authority.  While the Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) initiated an investigation of Mr. Love in October 2015, it was [not until September 2017] that his employment was finally terminated.”

Click here to read the full letter.

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Bishop Statement on Department of the Interior’s Proposed ESA Changes

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 19, 2018 –

Today, House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) issued the following statement in response to the Department of the Interior (DOI) releasing three proposed rules to modernize the Endangered Species Act:

“It’s no secret that modernizing the Endangered Species Act is long overdue. DOI’s proposed rules incorporate public input, innovative science and best practices to improve efficiency and certainty for federal agencies and the public. I commend Secretary Zinke and Deputy Secretary Bernhardt for their excellent leadership on this issue and look forward to working with my colleagues to enshrine these actions into law.”

Background:

DOI’s proposed rules focus on Sections four and seven of the Endangered Species Act, and would address improved consultation processes, changes to critical habitat designations, and issues within the criteria for listing and delisting species. They also incorporate public input and best practices to improve reliability, regulatory efficiency, and environmental stewardship.

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Cameron (Cam) Sholly Named Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park

*Editor’s Note* – Two items that need attention: First, it would seem that Sholly taking over the position of Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park is a step down from previous work within the National Park Service. Why?

The second issue is that in the following press release Congresswoman Liz Cheney was quoted as saying, “I’m pleased Secretary Zinke moved quickly to name Cam Sholly as the new Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park.” Perhaps while handing out pats on the back to Sec. Zinke for his quick actions to find a replacement for the superintendent he fired, Congressman Cheney should ask Zinke why it has taken a year and a half and still, we have no Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Press Release from the U.S. Department of Interior:

WASHINGTON – Today, National Park Service (NPS) Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith announced the selection of Cameron (Cam) Sholly to be the new Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park.

“As a veteran of the National Park Service, Cam has a track record of working with local communities and Tribes on important wildlife and conservation work and he’s overseen some of the park service’s most high-profile park infrastructure projects in recent years,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Managing our National Parks is a responsibility and a privilege, and I’m confident Cam Sholly will do a fantastic job at Yellowstone.”

“Cam is a proven leader, who has successfully worked at every senior level in the National Park Service including assignments as regional director, associate director, and superintendent,” said Deputy Director Smith. “Most recently, he has overseen the completion of one of the largest public/private partnership projects in NPS history – the $380 million renovation of the Gateway Arch grounds and museum in St. Louis. Cam has built productive and valuable relations with communities, landowners, and local, state, and tribal leaders throughout his career, and I am confident he will continue shaping the right vision for Yellowstone’s future.”

“I am honored to have the opportunity to work with the extraordinary staff and partners at Yellowstone,” Sholly said about the appointment. “Exceptional work has occurred there over the past years because of the dedication of the NPS staff, partners, and communities. I look forward to continuing a positive trajectory for one of the greatest park in the world.”

“Cam has great experience and an understanding of what will make Yellowstone National Park a family destination for all Montanans and its visitors,” said Senator Steve Daines. “We discussed many critical issues facing the park service and I look forward to working with Cam. As a Gardner High School graduate I know he will bring Montana common sense to the job every day.”

“Yellowstone National Park is one of America’s most treasured parks. Together with Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone is home to a wide variety of wildlife and stunning landscapes, and hosts of thousands of visitors each year. As Cam takes the reins as the incoming superintendent, I look forward to working with him to ensure Yellowstone remains a shining example of our national park system,” said Senator John Barrasso.

“I’m pleased Secretary Zinke moved quickly to name Cam Sholly as the new Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park,” said Congressman Liz Cheney. “Superintendent Sholly’s extensive resume and background within the Park Service will serve him well as he transitions into his new role. I’m looking forward to working closely with the Superintendent to keep Yellowstone one of the Nation’s most beloved parks.”

“Cam has a record of success that will help him manage the first of our nation’s national parks,” said Congressman Greg Gianforte. “Having worked with Cam, I know he understands the importance of being a good partner with neighboring communities. I am confident in Cam’s leadership and am certain he will do an (sic) outstanding job at Yellowstone.”

Since early 2015, Sholly has served as the NPS Midwest Regional Director, and he manages a team of 2000 employees, a budget of over $250 million, and the operations of 61 national park units spread across 13 states. Over the past three years, national parks within the Midwest transferred nearly 800 bison to state and tribal governments through a transparent and collaborative process. During his tenure in the Midwest Region, Sholly also has overseen several major planning processes, including the recent signing of the record of decision to reintroduce wolves to Isle Royale National Park. The region also supported efforts with states to develop wildlife and land management plans, including a plan to address Chronic Wasting Disease in elk populations in South Dakota. He has improved business processes in the region and collaborated with partners on a variety of complex and important park issues. In 2016, Sholly also established a regional Office of American Indian Affairs, to build stronger tribal relations across the region.

From 2012-2015, Sholly served as the Associate Director for Visitor and Resource Protection at NPS headquarters, where he managed a national portfolio that included wilderness stewardship, fire and aviation management, risk management, public health, ranger law enforcement, regulations, and the United States Park Police. As Associate Director, Sholly guided the development and implementation of a national employee safety strategy which has helped dramatically reduce employee fatalities across the bureau. He also approved new national policies for wilderness stewardship, law enforcement, wildland fire, and many other NPS programs.

From 2009-2012, Sholly served as the Superintendent of the Natchez Trace Parkway, overseeing NPS operations within a 444- mile, three-state corridor that includes 25 counties and 20 communities, with approximately 6 million visitors annually. In 2011, Sholly was named superintendent of the year in the Southeast Region for his sustained partnership and business planning efforts within the corridor.

Sholly’s other previous assignments include: Chief of Staff and deputy to the Associate Director for Visitor and Resource Protection; detail as Special Assistant to the NPS Director; and Chief of the Ranger Operations Branch in Yosemite National Park. Sholly is a U.S. Army veteran who served in both infantry and combat military police assignments. He was deployed to Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1990-1991.

Sholly has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management from Duke University with curriculum concentrations in environmental economics and law and policy. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Management from St. Mary’s College of California, and is a graduate of the Harvard University Senior Executive Fellows Program.

In 2015, Sholly was awarded the Department of the Interior’s Meritorious Service Award for his executive leadership actions. He has been married for the past 21 years to Jill Walston Sholly. They have a high school-aged son.

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Secretary Zinke Proposes Expansion of Hunting and Fishing Opportunities at 30 of America’s National Wildlife Refuges

Press Release from the Department of Interior:

WASHINGTON – Continuing his efforts to increase access to public lands, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced a proposal to open more than 248,000 acres to new or expanded hunting and fishing opportunities at 30 national wildlife refuges.

Opportunities include places like Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois and Wisconsin, and deer hunting in Philadelphia at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge being proposed for the first time. The proposal also outlines expanded hunting and fishing opportunities at 136 national wildlife refuges. If finalized, this would bring the number of units of the National Wildlife Refuge System where the public may hunt to 377, and the number where fishing would be permitted to 312.

“As stewards of our public lands, Interior is committed to opening access wherever possible for hunting and fishing so that more families have the opportunity to pass down this American heritage,” Zinke said. “These 30 refuges will provide incredible opportunities for American sportsmen and women across the country to access the land and connect with wildlife.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) proposal would open more new acres to hunting and fishing than in the past and takes steps to simplify regulations to more closely match state hunting and fishing regulations. The changes would be implemented in time for the upcoming 2018-2019 hunting seasons.

Hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities contributed more than $156 billion in economic activity in communities across the United States in 2016 according to the Service’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, published every five years. More than 101 million Americans – 40 percent of the U.S. population 16 and older – pursue wildlife-related recreation – such as hunting, fishing and birding.

“Ensuring public lands are open for multiple uses supports local economies and provides important opportunities for recreation. Further, this proposal means that families and individuals across our nation will be better able to participate in our nation’s tradition of hunting and fishing. We appreciate Secretary Zinke and the Interior Department for advancing this priority, and we will continue to work to improve access to public lands for our sportsmen,” said Senator John Hoeven.

“Public lands should be open for the public to enjoy,” said Chairman Rob Bishop of Utah. “The Department of the Interior’s latest decision to expand acreage and access for hunting and fishing on wildlife refuges was the right move. Secretary Zinke’s decision will help our economy grow and enable those who hunt and fish to spend more time catching game and less time caught in red tape.”

“North Dakota is a sportsman’s paradise. The decision to expand access to public lands by opening more than 248,000 acres across the nation to hunting and fishing will provide new economic opportunities for local communities as well as open up new areas for anglers and hunters,” said Congressman Kevin Cramer. “For the first time, the J. Clark Salyer and Lostwood National Wildlife Refuges will be open to moose hunting. I commend the Secretary’s decision and look forward to working with the department.”

“Hunters, anglers and shooting sports enthusiasts play a crucial role in funding the management and conservation of North America’s wildlife,” said Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan. “We are providing sportsmen and women with more access to our national wildlife refuges and streamlining regulations to more closely align with our state partners. And that’s good news for our customers.”

The Service manages hunting and fishing programs to ensure sustainable wildlife populations while also offering other traditional wildlife-dependent recreation on public lands, such as wildlife watching and photography. The Refuge System is an unparalleled network of 566 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts. There is a national wildlife refuge within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas.

“The proposed expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities through working partnership with the states is a demonstration of Secretary Zinke’s commitment to our nation’s outdoor heritage and the conservation community,” said Virgil Moore, President of the Association of the Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “These efforts reaffirm the tremendous value of quality wildlife habitat and outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting and fishing, in connecting millions of Americans to the outdoors.”

“We applaud Secretary Zinke and the Fish and Wildlife Service for their continued commitment to increasing opportunities for hunting and fishing within the National Wildlife Refuge System,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Department of Interior on increasing access for sportsmen and women.”

Hunting and/or fishing will expand or be opened on the following refuges:

Arkansas

California

Florida

Illinois

Illinois and Missouri

Illinois and Wisconsin

Indiana

Maine

Maine and New Hampshire

Maryland

Michigan

Minnesota

Montana

New Jersey

New Jersey and New York

New Mexico

North Dakota

Ohio

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Utah

Wisconsin

  • Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge: Open hunting of certain gamebirds, small mammals and furbearers for the first time, and expand existing migratory game bird and big game hunting.

The Service will seek comments from the public on the proposed rule for 30 days, beginning with publication in the Federal Register in coming days. The notice will be available at www.regulations.gov, docket no. FWS-HQ-NWRS-2018-0020, and will include details on how to submit your comments. An interim copy of the proposed rule is now available at https://www.fws.gov/home/pdfs/Proposed_2018-2019_Hunt_Fish_Rule_signed.pdf.

More than 53 million Americans visit refuges every year. National wildlife refuges provide vital habitat for thousands of species and access to world-class recreation, from fishing, hunting and boating to nature watching, photography and environmental education. In doing so, they support regional economies to the tune of $2.4 billion dollars per year and support more than 35,000 jobs.

Under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the Service permits hunting and fishing along with four other types of wildlife-dependent recreation, including wildlife photography, environmental education, wildlife observation and interpretation, when they are compatible with an individual refuge’s purpose and mission. Hunting, within specified limits, is currently permitted on 337 wildlife refuges and 37 wetland management districts. Fishing is currently permitted on 277 wildlife refuges and 34 wetland management districts.

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Secretary Zinke Partners with ?Congress on Bipartisan Bill to Fix Our National Parks

Press Release from the Department of Interior:

Marks an important component of President Trump’s Infrastructure Framework for Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure

3/7/2018
Last edited 3/7/2018

Date: March 7, 2018
Contacts: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke joined U.S. Senator s Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Angus King (I-ME) , Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and others to introduce a bipartisan bill to rebuild America’s National Park s. The proposed bill would use up to $18 billion in revenue derived from energy produced on federal lands and waters to establish a special fund within the Treasury specifically for “National Park Restoration”. The bill follows the blueprint laid out in Secretary Zinke and President Trump’s budget proposal, the Public Lands Infrastructure Fund. The Alexander/King bill’s cosponsors are: Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Steve Daines (R-MT), Cory Gardner (R-CO) , and Thom Tillis (R-NC). This bill fulfills one of the priorities laid out in President Trump’s legislative framework for rebuilding America’s infrastructure.

” Infrastructure is an investment, not merely an expense. And every dollar we put in to rebuilding our parks, will help bolster the gateway communities that rely on park visitation for economic vitality. Since the early days of my confirmation, I’ve been talking with members of the House and Senate about how we can use energy revenue to rebuild and revitalize our parks and communities,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Infrastructure is also about access for all Americans. Not all visitors to our parks have the ability to hike with a 30-pound pack and camp in the wilderness miles away from utilities. In order for families with young kids , elderly grandparents , or persons with disabilities to enjoy the parks, we need to rebuild basic infrastructure like roads, trails, lodges, restrooms and visitors centers. This bill is the largest investment in National Parks in our nation’s history. This is not a republican or democrat issue, this is an American issue, and I think that the bipartisan body of lawmakers who put this bill forward is proof.”

“This legislation will help address the over $11 billion maintenance backlog at our national parks, including the $215 million backlog of projects in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” Senator Alexander said. “The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of America’s greatest treasures – and it has a tremendous economic impact in East Tennessee, attracting nearly twice the visitors of any other national park. Addressing the maintenance backlog will help attract even more visitors and create more jobs for Tennesseans. We must continue to work together to find solutions to the many challenges facing our public lands, and this legislation takes an important step toward doing that.”

“Montanans are blessed to have America’s most beautiful national parks right outside our front doors,” said Senator Daines.“These critical economic drivers must be maintained and protected so that our outdoor economy can continue to grow and our parks remain accessible to all Montanans. This bipartisan bill is a commonsense step forward to ensure that the challenges facing our national parks are finally addressed.”

“For more than a century, our national parks have inspired and amazed countless visitors,” said Senator King. “Unfortunately, these parks don’t take care of themselves – they need maintenance to ensure that future generations can experience the same wonder that so many Americans already have. This bill is a practical step to help clear the existing maintenance backlog, and protect these treasured lands for years to come.”

“As someone who loves public lands and our National Parks, I am thrilled to be standing here today with Secretary Zinke, Senator Alexander, Senator King, and Congressman Schrader to propose a solution to fixing the backlog maintenance,” said Congressman Mike Simpson. “Growing up in Yellowstone’s backyard, it is important that we pay it forward to future visitors that deserve the same quality experience as past generations. There are many people who deserve credit for bringing this issue to the forefront and I look forward to working with them to advance legislation that fixes our Parks.”

“Oregonians have a genuine appreciation for the outdoors and our National Parks and recreation areas,” said Representative Schrader. “Our ability to enjoy and appreciate that natural beauty is limited when upkeep on our federal lands isn’t sufficiently funded allowing critical maintenance to fall by the wayside. Not only does that impact our enjoyment of the land, but it poses serious risks to the protection of these areas and hurts our communities that rely on the economic benefit from visitors. Currently, our national parks are in dire need of maintenance with a more than ten billion dollar backlog. Our bill provides an innovative solution by creating the National Park Restoration Fund which will provide mandatory funding from unutilized resources already available to us, to bring that backlog down and ensure our National Park System is well and safely kept for generations to come.”

The National Park Service estimates that its maintenance and repair backlog exceeds $11.6 billion. In 2017, 330 million people visited the 417 NPS sites across the country. The NPS completed over $650 million in maintenance and repair work in FY 2017, but aging facilities, high visitation, and resource constraints have kept the maintenance backlog between $11 billion and $12 billion since 2010.

Some examples of maintenance projects include:

  • ??Everglades National Park (Florida) – Showers, campgrounds and lodges that were destroyed during a hurricane more than a decade ago remain broken. Total Everglades maintenance backlog cost, more than $90 million.
  • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (Indiana) – Earlier this month, an observation deck overlooking Lake Michigan crumbled and fell to the ground after years of erosion. Total Indiana Dunes maintenance backlog cost, more than $26 million.
  • Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona) – A pipeline, and the only infrastructure to deliver water to the South Rim Village of 19,634 people daily for drinking, cooking and firefighting, breaks several times a year putting the well-being of the community including park lodges, visitor centers, homes, and Grand Canyon hikers at risk. Total Grand Canyon maintenance backlog cost, more than $329 million.
  • ??Statue of Liberty National Monument (NY/NJ) – $34.45 million is needed to stabilize the Ellis Island Seawall, which protects Ellis Island from erosion of wave action. $3.77 million is also needed to rehabilitate the Fire-Life-Safety System in the Main Immigration Building, where 2.2 million annual visitors start and end their visit to the island. Total Statue of Liberty National Monument maintenance backlog cost, more than $166 million.

While National Parks have enjoyed historic visitation over the past few years, many Americans have never been to a NPS
site and are unfamiliar with what infrastructure they hold. Here’s a quick look at National Park Service infrastructure across the board:

  • More than 5,500 miles of paved roads
  • More than 1,700 bridges and tunnels
  • More than 17,000 miles of trails
  • More than 1,300 campgrounds
  • More than 24,000 buildings including more than 500 visitor centers, 425 park lodges and hotel buildings, 3,870 housing units and more than 3,700 bathrooms
  • More than 1,000 miles of water pipelines
  • More than 1,500 water systems
  • More than 1,800 wastewater systems
  • More than 500 electrical systems
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We’re All Going to DIE???

Promises Made, Promises Kept: Interior Releases Comprehensive List of Accomplishments under President Trump & Secretary Zinke

12/28/2017

Date: December 28, 2017
Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a list of accomplishments that the Department has achieved under the leadership of President Donald J. Trump and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. The accomplishments represent the unique balance of development, conservation, and preservation that the Department is charged with overseeing, including leading in American Energy Dominance, restoring public access to public lands, and providing regulatory relief for hard working American citizens.

“The President promised the American people that their voices would be heard and that we would prioritize American interests, and I’m proud to say that this year the Department of the Interior has made good on those promises,” said Secretary Zinke. “Across the Department we are striking the right balance to protect our greatest treasures and also generate the revenue and energy our country needs. We ended the war on coal, and we restored millions of acres of public land for traditional multiple use. We expanded access for recreation, hunting and fishing on public lands, and also started looking at new ways to rebuild our National Parks. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Next year will be an exciting year for the Department and the American people.”

Throughout Secretary Zinke’s Senate confirmation process, he made many promises to the American tax payer, and the list of accomplishments shows how the Department is keeping the promises that were made. Additionally, Zinke fulfilled confirmation promises to Senators to visit DOI holdings in their home states, including FloridaNew MexicoUtahAlaskaIdahoLouisianaTennesseeMaineColoradoArizona, and Texas.

Below is a summary of major accomplishments according to Secretary Zinke’s Top Ten Priorities at the Department:

1. Create a conservation stewardship legacy, second only to Teddy Roosevelt

Under Secretary Zinke’s leadership, the Department opened public access to the Sabinoso Wilderness which contains some of the most pristine sportsmen opportunities in the country, expanded hunting and fishing access on 10 National Wildlife Refuges, and successfully defended a mineral withdrawal near the Grand Canyon and supports a withdrawal north of Yellowstone.

2. Sustainably develop our energy & natural resources

Under Secretary Zinke’s leadership, the Department held the second largest offshore wind lease sale, ended the Obama-era ban on coal mining on federal lands, and increased energy revenues to states and Tribes by more than a billion dollars.

3. Restore trust & be a good neighbor

At Secretary Zinke’s recommendation, the President restored traditional multiple-use public access to over a million acres of land in Utah while creating five distinct monument units at Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. Under Zinke’s leadership, the Department also opened up the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge for emergency cattle grazing after a wildfire, and reopened U.S. Virgin Islands National Park ahead of the busy Christmas tourism season, helping the Islands’ economic recovery.

4. Ensure Tribal sovereignty means something

President Trump nominated the first Alaska Native woman to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs and issued the first-ever Presidential Emergency Declaration for a Tribe. Secretary Zinke signed the Pechanga water rights settlement, restored the rights of Alaska Natives to sell handicrafts, and asked Congress to formally designate Tribal co-management of Shash-Jaa area of Bears Ears National Monument.

5. Increase revenues to support DOI and national interests

Under Secretary Zinke’s leadership, the Department increased energy revenues to states by more than a billion dollars over the previous year.

6. Protect our people and the border

President Trump and Secretary Zinke began the process of working with Congress to authorize full funding of the compact with Palau in order to strengthen the United States strategic defense in the Pacific. Hundreds of DOI law enforcement officers deployed to evacuate, prepare and respond to hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

7. Strike a regulatory balance

Under Secretary Zinke’s leadership, the Department reduced the semi-annual regulatory agenda by more than 50-percent, initiated 21 deregulatory actions, saving the economy $3.8 billion over time.

8. Modernize our infrastructure

Secretary Zinke announced repairs to the historic Arlington Memorial Bridge, which carries 68,000 vehicles a day, will be completed under budget and ahead of schedule. The Secretary approved important infrastructure projects like the Boardman/Hemingway Transmission Line and the Mountain Valley Pipeline while also approving more than $80 million for parks and recreation grants.

9. Reorganize DOI for the next 100 years

The Secretary is crafting a plan to reorganize the Department of the Interior in a way that better manages our federal lands and pushes more assets to the field. The philosophy has earned bipartisan support in Congress and among governors.

10. Achieving our goals, leading our team forward

Partnership for Public Service announced in its”The Best Places to Work” survey the Department of the Interior (DOI) has improved from 11th place to 9th place among all the large agencies. Secretary Zinke has made improving the work experience a priority while at the Department, and the numbers from the report show a significant jump towards reaching that goal. Additionally, the Secretary announced the Department would be dog friendly in an effort to boost morale and attract top candidates.

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House Natural Resource Committee Letter to President Trump

*Editor’s Note* – Anyone with any sense of sanity might want to ask why it is that the President of the United States is considering a “restructuring” of the Department of Interior when he has failed so miserably in making appointments within that department. It has been nearly one year since he walked into the White House and still positions remain vacant. Is this part of his restructuring plan?

2017-11-16_cnr_to_president_trump_re_doi_reorg
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Interior OIG Report on Dan Love: Nothing Changes. Only Faces and Rhetoric

If you follow through and understand the entire process!

Press Release from the Committee on Natural Resources:

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 24, 2017 –

Today, the Department of the Interior (DOI) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report titled “Investigative Report of Misconduct by a Senior Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Law Enforcement Manager.” Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) released the following statement:

“After numerous reports substantiating serious allegations of misconduct including the destruction of federal records, defiance of congressional document requests and misuse of ancient artifacts under investigation as office decor, I expect Interior to hold Dan Love accountable. The people of Utah and Nevada — and the American taxpayers — deserve better.

“I look forward to seeing how this Administration responds to the unethical behavior uncovered by the report. We must take steps to restore trust in federal law enforcement officers and hold employees accountable for their mismanagement of our taxpayer resources.”

Background

The report looked into multiple allegations including the mishandling of evidence from a criminal case, which Love eventually gave as gifts to several people. DOI OIG substantiated most of the allegations including that Love instructed his employee to remove four moqui marbles from the evidence room and that he violated Federal security and records management policy in addition to various regulations related to the conduct of federal employees.

Yesterday, Chairman Bishop sent a letter to Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall requesting an unredacted copy of the report, which was received by the Committee this morning. Click here to read the full letter.

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President Proposes $1.3 Billion FY 2018 Budget for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Press Release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

Budget Makes Commitments to Public Lands, Energy and Public Access

May 23, 2017

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump today proposed a $1.3 billion Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Service’s budget also includes $1.5 billion in permanent funding, which is mostly administered to states through various grants and other initiatives for their wildlife and sportfish conservation programs. The bureau budget helps put the federal government on track to a balanced budget by 2027.

“President Trump promised the American people he would cut wasteful spending and make the government work for the taxpayer again, and that’s exactly what this budget does,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Working carefully with the President, we identified areas where we could reduce spending and also areas for investment, such as addressing the maintenance backlog in our National Parks and increasing domestic energy production on federal lands. The budget also allows the Department to return to the traditional principles of multiple-use management to include both responsible natural resource development and conservation of special places. Being from the West, I’ve seen how years of bloated bureaucracy and D.C.-centric policies hurt our rural communities. The President’s budget saves taxpayers by focusing program spending, shrinking bureaucracy, and empowering the front lines.”

The President’s budget focuses funding on the nation’s highest priority conservation needs, access to public lands for all Americans, and the agency’s role in streamlining energy development, while containing costs through management efficiencies and other savings to address federal fiscal realities.

“Improving access to national wildlife refuges supports the great American traditions of hunting and fishing that together generate billions of dollars for conservation and billions more for our nation’s economy,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Virginia Johnson. “Accordingly, this budget request prioritizes deferred maintenance funding for national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries, active habitat management across millions of acres of public lands, and core wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities.”

“Timely environmental review of energy development and other infrastructure needs will create jobs and help the U.S. achieve energy independence,” said Johnson. “This budget also supports our law enforcement officers who support cooperative efforts to secure our borders.”

The FY18 budget includes the President’s continued focus on the following priorities:

America’s Public Lands:

Through the National Wildlife Refuge System, the Service continues the American tradition, started by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, of protecting fish and wildlife and their habitats and providing opportunities for hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation to all Americans. The proposed FY18 funding level for the Refuge System is $470.1 million. The proposed budget maintains a commitment to providing outdoor recreational opportunities in rural, urban or suburban landscapes, including through the Service’s Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships program, as well as supporting the vital role of volunteers on our refuges.

American Infrastructure:

Included in the request for National Wildlife Refuges is $136.2 million for improving the Service’s maintenance backlog and to take care of the American public’s investments in facilities and infrastructure managed by the Service. Of this, $41.0 million is to address the backlog in deferred maintenance. This would sustain the Service’s current commitment to eliminate its maintenance backlog in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

In addition, $19.4 million is requested for maintenance of national fish hatcheries, which stock sport and subsistence fish for states and tribes and also propagate and release endangered aquatic species to aid in their recovery. . A further $51.9 million in funding is proposed for national fish hatchery operations.

Invasive species cost our economy billions of dollars each year. To continue its commitment to address this important issue, the Administration proposes level funding for programs that focus on preventing the spread of Asian carp, quagga and zebra mussels, and sea lamprey.

A total of $225.2 million is proposed to implement the Endangered Species Act and related programs, of which $79.6 million is dedicated for species recovery efforts. Recovery funding includes an increase of $1.8 million for working on five-year species reviews and delistings and downlistings.

Birds are important to Americans in many ways. Birdwatching generates $43 billion in economic activity yearly; hunting of migratory waterfowl is a traditional recreational pastime that generates billions more. A total of $44.0 million is requested for the Service’s Migratory Bird program, which provides waterfowl hunting opportunities and encourages conservation of birds and their habitats.

The budget eliminates funding for Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and the Service’s science program, as well as funding for youth programs and the Cooperative Recovery Initiative.

American Safety and Security:

Refuge law enforcement efforts are funded at $37.9 million to enhance visitor and employee safety on our public lands and honor the President’s commitment to improving border security.

Additionally, the Office of Law Enforcement is funded at $73.0 million. The recent escalation in poaching of protected species and the illegal trade in wildlife poses an urgent threat to conservation and global security. Wildlife trafficking generates billions of dollars in illicit revenues each year, contributing to the illegal economy, fueling instability in range nations, and undermining regional security in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Poaching operations themselves have expanded beyond small-scale, opportunistic actions to become a coordinated, large-scale activity often commissioned by armed and organized criminal syndicates that also traffic drugs, arms and people, and that see wildlife trafficking as a low-risk, high-reward alternative. Our continued investment in combatting wildlife trafficking is important to addressing organized crime and saving hundreds of iconic species such as the African elephant and rhino from extinction.  The Service’s International Affairs program is funded at $14.2 million, nearly level with FY17 Continuing Resolution Baseline. The program provides grants and technical assistance for the international conservation of endangered and threatened species.

America First Energy:

The budget includes $98.8 million to facilitate planning and consultation that will support energy development, economic recovery and job creation in the United States. Timely evaluations of proposed infrastructure, energy and other development projects contribute to job creation and economic growth. Funding will allow the Service to expedite project reviews and work with developers on appropriate mitigation and avoidance measures.

The President’s budget also contains proposals to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling; to enable the National Wildlife Refuge System to recover damages from persons who injure or destroy federal resources; and to permanently authorize the Recreation Fee Program.

The President’s FY18 budget proposal for the Department of the Interior supports his commitment to create jobs, provide outdoor recreation through hunting and fishing, facilitate energy development, and support law enforcement needs. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Congressional Justification can be found online: www.fws.gov/budget/2018/FY2018-FWS-Greenbook.pdf.

The Department of the Interior oversees one-fifth of the nation’s land and the entire Outer-Continental Shelf. The Department is charged with overseeing energy development on federal lands and waters, grazing allotments and timber sales, water conservation and delivery, upholding tribal trust responsibilities, conservation of wildlife and habitat, and maintaining access for recreation throughout public lands, among other priorities.

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Ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, made the following comment about Trump’s budget proposal:

“Once again, the Trump Administration has turned its back on Teddy Roosevelt-style conservatism and is instead trying to allow special interests to pillage our natural resources so a wealthy few can make themselves even wealthier. We won’t let him.”

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Red Wolf Criminal Enterprise Appears to Remain Unchanged

Man-government is a nonsustaining, useless and corrupt entity that destroys whatever it lays its hands to. Government epitomizes insanity – rinse and repeat. Our insanity comes from thinking we can change it.

But, perhaps it’s partly the blame of a dysfunctional Trump Administration that seems to screw up whatever it lays its hands to, along with the fact that within its dysfunction, Trump’s appointment of Ryan Zinke as head of the Interior Department, can’t seem to get off his lazy backside and announce his pick to head up the Fish and Wildlife Service. After all, it’s been over 4 months and counting. Is it at all possible a real leader at the USFWS wouldn’t even be making such ridiculous proposals at an absurd time like this? Don’t hold your breath.

One thing has become clear to those willing to take off their fake blinders and examine truth, is that Trump cannot and will not keep any of his campaign promises (lies) – but he is no different in that regard than any crooked politician who came before him – that the ALL are crooked. It is a requirement of the position. It has not yet become obvious to his supporters that his works to this point in time are all blather. He talks a big talk and achieves nothing. People don’t even read his Executive Orders and if they do, they can’t understand them. If he’s so mighty, what has changed? I’m thinking nothing has changed and nothing will change, although there was some hope, which is now rapidly waning, soon to be replaced by business as usual and how do we get through 4 or 8 years of thugs and gangsters? Rinse and repeat.

Evidently it is business as usual at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) where babysitters are sucking on their pacifiers and carrying out the corrupt work that preceded them. Talk the talk but then blow it off. An example of such is what to do about the fake Red Wolves?

The USFWS is proposing making some changes to the “10j” rule of the Endangered Species Act in order to do something to change the management strategy of trying to grow a fake red wolf and perpetuate it.

The proposal – or more accurately a request for comments in order to draw up a draft proposal – can be found at this link. Below I have included the portion of the request that contains the USFWS’s options and what they are leaning toward implementing.

In their background information, of course it is fraught with lies. As an example it reads that the USFWS made sure that any “red wolves” that drifted off government land was removed. We know that never happened and as a matter of fact there’s pretty good evidence the criminals at the USFWS knowingly released and/or relocated “red wolves” on private land, which was an illegal act. However, anyone should understand by now that the U.S. Government places themselves above the laws we citizen slaves are expected to follow.

In the proposal it appears the USFWS wants to grow more fake mongrel “red wolves” in “zoos and private” wolf sanctuaries to keep beefing up the population and creating “genetic diversity” among existing fake red wolves. The liars at the USFWS say their management plans will protect further “hybridization” of red wolves and coyotes. They can never do this with the plans they are formulating, and it doesn’t much matter because what they are perpetuating is nothing but semi wild mongrel dogs. Is it that government is that stupid or do they think all of us are stupid enough to think we will never know the difference? I put my money on the latter.

But what’s difficult to understand, but not from a criminal’s mindset, is how the USFWS can, with a straight face, even be considering any proposal for a change of management of red wolves when the U.S. Attorney General’s Office has documentation that proves that the USFWS knew the “red wolves” they were growing and fostering weren’t even red wolves at all? Last I knew, the Attorney General’s office was demanding some answers. (I can’t help but laugh.) This sounds like a corrupt attempt at enhancing the corrupt red wolf program as much as possible before any decisions are made, or that the USFWS, like all government agencies, don’t give a rats ass about laws, rule of law or what, if anything, the U.S. Attorney General’s office will or won’t do. It’s one big fraternity that’s part of the giant rigged system. It will NEVER change.

In addition to all of this, new studies and science – difficult to know if any of it is real – suggest that there never existed any such “subspecies” of red wolf in the first place.

BUT DON’T GO LOOK!

For more information on the evidence to suggest the USFWS knew their red wolves were fake and the non existence of red wolves, use this link and this link. For lots of links to information about the history of red wolves in North Carolina, follow this link.

Proposed Action and Possible Alternatives

In 2013, acknowledging growing concerns from private landowners regarding management of the NEP, the Service and North Carolina Resources Commission entered into a broad canid management agreement, recognizing steps were needed to improve management of the population. Subsequently, the Service contracted an independent evaluation of the NEP project in 2014 and of the entire red wolf recovery program in 2015. From these evaluations, it became clear that the current direction and management of the NEP project is unacceptable to the Service and all stakeholders.

As a result of the findings from the evaluations, the Service is considering a potential revision of the 1995 NEP final rule. Risks of continued hybridization, human-related mortality, continued loss of habitat due to sea level rise, and continued population decline are high and have led to poor prospects for the NEP. Further, the most recent PVA indicates that the viability of the captive population is below and declining from the original recovery plan diversity threshold of 90 percent and could be enhanced by breeding captive wolves with wolves from the NEP project area. Therefore, the Service is considering whether the NEP should be managed with the captive population as one meta-population, whereby individuals could be moved not only from captivity into the wild but also from the wild into captivity. Incorporating the NEP into a meta-population with the captive population will increase the size of the population and introduce the natural selection occurring in the NEP back into the captive population. Therefore, the Service is proposing to change the goal of the current NEP project from solely that of establishing a self- sustaining wild population to a goal of also supporting viability of the captive wolves of the red wolf breeding program (proposed action). Maintaining a wild population fully integrated with the captive wolves also will: (1) Allow for animals removed from the wild to support the necessary expansion of current and future wild reintroduced populations and to improve the genetic health of the captive-breeding program; (2) preserve red wolf natural instincts and behavior in the captive population gene pool; and (3) provide a population for continued research on wild behavior and management.

The proposed revision would recognize that the size, scope, and management of the NEP will be focused on maintaining a wild population on Federal lands within Dare County, North Carolina and on protecting the species by increasing the number and genetic diversity of wolves in captivity. These revisions will allow removal of isolated packs of animals from non-Federal lands at the landowners’ request, incorporation of these animals into the wild/captive metapopulation, and better management of the remaining wild animals in accessible areas to minimize risks of hybridization. Management of wolves occupying Federal lands in Dare County will include population monitoring, animal husbandry, and control of coyotes and hybrids.

The proposed revision would authorize the movement of animals between the captive and wild populations in order to increase the number of wolves in the captive-breeding program and maintain genetic diversity for both captive and wild wolves. This means the captive wolves and the NEP will be managed as one single meta-population.

The draft environmental review under NEPA will consider consequences of a range of reasonable alternatives to the proposed action. We have identified several management alternatives for the NEP:

(1) Maintain the NEP project in its current state. In other words, we would make no revisions to the current 10(j) rule.

(2) Publish a rule eliminating the NEP project. Under this alternative, the red wolves found in the wild would retain their status as a federally listed “endangered” species under the Act.

(3) Revise the existing NEP. We may consider revisions to the current 10(j) rule that vary from the proposed action.

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