April 24, 2017

Bishop Statement on Zinke Appointment of Kate MacGregor to Interior Post

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 6, 2017

Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced the appointment of Katharine MacGregor, former senior professional staff on the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the Department of the Interior. Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement:

Secretary Zinke made a fantastic decision with this appointment. Kate has been a force on these issues and an invaluable resource to our Committee and Capitol Hill for many years. She brings a wealth of knowledge and energy to this important leadership post and will be a tremendous asset to the Department at a critical time. I wish her the very best and congratulate her on this appointment.”

During her time with the Natural Resources Committee, MacGregor’s portfolio included offshore leasing as well as oil and gas issues. In her new role at the Department, she will advise the Secretary and Assistant Secretary on energy development and public land use.

Outdoors in Maine: Changing of the guard positive for hunters

Over the years since then I have seen scant indication that, to this day, USFWS has in its policy making and agenda setting given a tinker’s dam about America’s hunting community and heritage.

This is about to change.<<<Read More>>>

Murkowski Welcomes New Interior Orders

Press Release from the Office of Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources:

New Secretarial Orders Expand Access to Federal Lands, Lift Ban on Lead Tackle and Ammunition

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today expressed her support for two secretarial orders announced by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke during his first full day on the job.

Secretarial Order 3347 overturns the last-minute Director’s Order 219, which would have banned lead-based products in ammunition and fishing tackle used on Fish and Wildlife Service lands and waters. Director’s Order 219 was of particular concern in the State of Alaska, as many who engage in traditional subsistence activities often rely on equipment that would have been impacted by the ban.

Secretary Zinke also signed Secretarial Order 3346, which reinstated the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council. This order responds to the needs of the sportsmen’s community and will expand and enhance hunting, fishing, and recreational opportunities on public lands.

“Secretary Zinke has wasted no time in taking common sense steps that are widely supported by Alaskans—particularly those who engage in traditional subsistence hunting and fishing on federal lands, and whose ability to gather food for their families was directly threatened by the order he overturned today,” Murkowski said. “I look forward to working with Secretary Zinke on a whole host of issues that are important to Alaskans and sportsmen all across the United States.”

Murkowski is a longtime advocate for sportsmen and women. In the last Congress, she introduced and led the Senate’s bipartisan package of sportsmen’s and public lands related measures. The legislation included provisions that would have protected, expanded, and enhanced hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting opportunities on federal lands.

Murkowski is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. More information about the new Secretarial Orders is available here.

Evidently A Few Approve of Confirmation of Ryan Zinke to Head Interior

Boone and Crockett Club: Ryan Zinke the Right Choice as Interior Secretary

The Boone and Crockett Club, the oldest wildlife conservation group in the U.S., yesterday praised the bipartisan confirmation of U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) as the new Secretary of the Department of the Interior. | For More…

NRA Applauds Secretary Zinke’s Protection of Traditional Ammunition

The National Rifle Association applauds Secretary Zinke’s decision to withdraw Director’s Order No. 219, a decree imposed on the final day of the Obama presidency to ban the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on national wildlife refuges. | For More…

Sportfishing Industry Applauds Interior’s Efforts to Expand Public Access

The first order advances conservation stewardship by directing Interior agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service to identify areas where recreation and fishing can be expanded. Zinke will request input from the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council, of which the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is a key member, in this process. | For More…

AFWA Applauds Secretary Zinke’s Day One Secretarial Orders

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies applauds announcement of Secretarial Order 3346and Secretarial Order 3347 by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. | For More…

SCI Applauds Zinke’s Reversal of Obama Administration Ammunition Order

A statement from Safari Club International praises Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s reversal of former FWS Director Dan Ashe’s Director’s Order 219 which imposed severe ammunition restrictions without input from the states, the public and ammunition and tackle manufacturers. | For More…

THEN THERE’S THE HAT. THE HAT ALONE IS A BIG WIN. Trump’s Newly Confirmed Interior Secretary Rode A Horse To His First Day Of Work. “Zinke, a pro-gun former Navy SEAL, will lead a federal department which oversees around a fifth of the nation’s land.”

Bishop Statement on Confirmation of Ryan Zinke as Interior Secretary

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 1, 2017

Today, Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Department of the Interior:

“Secretary Zinke is prepared to lead the Department of the Interior in a new and better direction, and I congratulate him on his confirmation. In collaboration with our state, tribal and local partners, I look forward to working with Secretary Zinke in the months ahead.”

USFWS Press Release:

Ryan Zinke Sworn In as 52nd Secretary of the Interior

WASHINGTON – Today, Ryan Zinke (pronounced Zink-EE) was confirmed and sworn in as the 52nd Secretary of the Interior. The Senate voted 68-31 to confirm Zinke the morning of March 1, 2017, and he was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence at a ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building later that evening. Zinke is the first Montanan to serve as a cabinet secretary and also the first U.S. Navy SEAL in the cabinet.

“I am honored and humbled to serve Montana and America as Secretary of the Interior,” Zinke said. “I shall faithfully uphold Teddy Roosevelt’s belief that our treasured public lands are ‘for the benefit and enjoyment of the people’ and will work tirelessly to ensure our public lands are managed and preserved in a way that benefits all Americans for generations to come. This means responsible natural resource development, increased access for recreation and sportsmen, and conservation that makes the land more valuable for our children’s children. Importantly, our sovereign Indian Nations and territories must have the respect and freedom they deserve.”

In nominating Congressman Zinke, President Donald Trump said, “Ryan has built one of the strongest track records on championing regulatory relief, forest management, responsible energy development and public land issues in Congress. As a former Navy SEAL, he has incredible leadership skills and an attitude of doing whatever it takes to win. America is the most beautiful country in the world and he is going to help keep it that way with smart management of our federal lands. At the same time, my administration’s goal is to repeal bad regulations and use our natural resources to create jobs and wealth for the American people, and Ryan will explore every possibility for how we can safely and responsibly do that.”

“Our public lands can once again be economic engines for our nation by creating jobs in energy, recreation, and conservation,” continued Zinke. “By working with President Trump and Congress to reevaluate and fix flawed regulations that are barriers to job creation, we will unleash the economic opportunity within our borders. Creating jobs on public lands can and will be done in an environmentally responsible way during my tenure.”

About Ryan Zinke

As a fifth-generation Montanan who grew up in a logging and rail town near Glacier National Park, Zinke has had a lifelong appreciation for conserving America’s natural beauty while upholding Teddy Roosevelt’s vision of multiple-use on our public lands. He has consistently led the efforts to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund in Congress, and has also been a firm advocate for our nation’s sportsmen and women to gain access to our public lands.  Zinke also co-authored the 2015 Resilient Federal Forest Act, which initiated new reforms for revitalizing America’s timber areas and preventing wildfires by emphasizing local collaboration on responsible timber harvest projects.

As Secretary of the Interior, Zinke leads an agency with more than 70,000 employees who serve as steward for 20 percent of the nation’s lands, including national parks, monuments and wildlife refuges, as well as other public lands. The department oversees the responsible development of conventional and renewable energy supplies on public lands and waters; is the largest supplier and manager of water in the 17 Western states; and upholds trust responsibilities to the 567 federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Natives.

Ryan Zinke represented the state of Montana in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2014, building an impressive portfolio on Interior issues ranging from federal mineral leases to tribal affairs to public lands conservation.  Zinke is widely praised for his voting record that supports the Teddy Roosevelt philosophy of managing public lands, which calls for multiple-use to include economic, recreation and conservation aspects.

Before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Zinke served in the Montana State Senate from 2009 to 2011, but the bulk of Zinke’s public service was his 23 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL officer.

Zinke enlisted in the Navy in 1985 and was soon selected to join the elite force where he would build an honorable career until his retirement in 2008.He retired with the rank of Commander after leading SEAL operations around the globe, including as the Deputy and Acting Commander of Joint Special Forces in Iraq and two tours at SEAL Team Six.  Zinke was the first Navy SEAL elected to the U.S. House and is the first SEAL to serve as a cabinet secretary

Zinke holds a Geology degree from the University of Oregon, where he was an All-PAC 10 football player; a Master’s degree in Business Finance from National University; and a Master’s degree in Global Leadership from the University of San Diego.  Ryan and his wife Lolita (Lola) have three children and two granddaughters. Zinke is proud to be an adopted member of the Assiniboine Sioux Tribe at the Fort Peck Reservation in Northeast Montana.

Bishop Statement on the Selection of Rep. Ryan Zinke to Head the Department of the Interior

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 15, 2016

House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement in reaction to the appointment of Representative Ryan Zinke (R-MT) to head the Department of the Interior.

“Selfishly, I’m not crazy about this nomination, because Zinke was a bright freshman member of our committee. This will be a loss for us. I was looking forward to working with him on Resources and in the Western Caucus. However, this appointment gives us greater opportunity to help people and solve problems that face the West.

“In our committee, he dealt with many issues including transmission rights-of-way to move power from its production source to where the people are. He experienced firsthand the frustrations associated with an administration that didn’t put its priorities on helping people and effective land management.  

“He also understands our frustrations with Interior’s arbitrary rules and regulations that put dogma ahead of helping people. He clearly understands Speaker Ryan’s Article I initiative. I am excited to have an administration that will now partner with Congress to solve problems created by years of mismanagement at Interior. I look forward to working with Zinke to create new solutions.” 

Advice Worth the Cost

By James Beers

Congressman Ryan Zinke, Republican Representative for the entire state of Montana, has been named by President-elect Trump as his pick for the Secretary of the Interior.

I subsequently received the following inquiry (along with many others) from a group for whom I have high regard.  It is with honest forethought that I respond to this question recognizing that it is probably not in my personal best interest to do so.  The reason for this being my long-standing enthusiastic support and bias for President-elect Trump and the fact that at the urging of more than a few acquaintances I sent a resume to the Trump Transition Team for any role –full, part-time or advisory that they might use someone with my record and talents.  While I had several friends that then sent my resume to Transition Team acquaintances and some potential candidates for the Secretary Appointment, I claimed no personal preferences, endorsements, or “dog in the race”. I still find all the named candidates in this transition to have strengths and weaknesses that overall make any of them far better that any Secretary of the Interior since the three (Watt, Clark & Hodel) under President Reagan.  While an honest answer here will probably torpedo any active role in this Administration for an old guy like me, I trust it will not diminish any consideration they or the public might give to future recommendations I may write or speak about.

The question:

–       Q. I have concerns about this cabinet pick.  Xxxx tells me they were on his ag advisory committee and he is definitely NOT in favor of turning federal lands back to the states.  I also wonder about his background and will wikepedia him next.  Any ideas on how we should proceed?

My Answer:

First of all, I am an enthusiastic Trump supporter and during these times of his every move evoking more incomings than Fort Sumter, I am loathe to add anything to the barrage he is already experiencing.

Secondly, Congressman Zinke certainly seems sensible; what the English used to term a “hail fellow well met”. The two interviews I saw were impressive and left the urban New York interviewers pleased and laughing.  Add to this, his service as a Seal and his being a fellow Naval Officer and, as with President Trump, I find it hard to express negative observations.

This morning’s Wall Street Journal has given me pause for thought on what lies ahead for federal oppressions and “how we should proceed” as I ponder the question.

The following is an excerpted copy of the WSJ article with my observations italicized in parentheses.

POLITICS

Donald Trump Jr. Played a Key Role in Interior Pick

By

AMY HARDER

Dec. 15, 2016 6:36 p.m. ET

Donald Trump Jr. heavily influenced his father’s decision to fill the post of interior secretary with Rep. Ryan Zinke, a one-term congressman who shares the younger Trump’s enthusiasm for hunting, say people familiar with the pick.

(So far so good.)

Zinke, Montana’s sole House member and a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, resigned as a delegate to the GOP’s convention this past summer because its platform calls for a transfer of federally owned wilderness lands to the states. That is a position favored by most Republicans, including Ms. McMorris Rodgers, but the president-elect and his son, an avid hunter, oppose it.

(No matter your stand on returning federal lands to the states, it is a bargaining chip of the first order for anyone interested in making ANY progress in reducing federal overreach and reviving rural America.  Also, note the “wilderness” with a small “w”.  Does she mean “Wilderness-designated lands” with a capital “W” or did Zinke and Donald Trump Jr. use that term?  The difference being; if it is a typical urban observation that all that “out there” is “wilderness” replete with wolves, grizzly bears and free-roaming buffalo then it has no significance: if Ryan and Donald used it, it suggests that they are prepared to argue that those are the “most sacred”, “most unique’’ etc. acres and under no circumstances should their status be changed.  This is just the opposite of what is likely to happen.  The non-“Wilderness” acres would be gradually transferred and the status, management and uses of “Wilderness” acres questioned; to reverse this is simply what Hitchcock called a “MacGuffin” or diversionary device that serves no purpose.)

“The federal government needs to do a much better job of managing our resources, but the sale or transfer of our land is an extreme proposal, and I won’t tolerate it,” Mr. Zinke said at a June congressional hearing.

(This is very troubling. The federal government has proven over the last 25 years that it is no longer capable of this task and indeed is the source of the mismanagement and harms that helped elect President-elect Trump.  Asking the current US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service or the US Forest Service (although in the Department of Agriculture) to begin doing a “much better job of managing our resources” is truly and accurately like asking:

Animal Control Officers to surrender their guns and extraordinary Police Powers and notify Local Police of suspected violations; or

School teachers to begin teaching wild animal and plant management that benefits rural communities and generates taxes and Local control of Local issues; or

University professors to refuse government funding that influences both “science” and political dialogue; or

Federal and State bureaucrats to take a pay cut or retirement reduction and return to a hiring/promotion/bonus system free of race and sex classifications and preferences.

In other words, none of these things can happen with the current workforces in place and while the current laws and practices that spawned and protect them remain in place.  All of these bureaucracies have been staffed with ideologues that not only do not know how to “manage our resources”, they are actually mentally and physically opposed to “managing our resources” and will fight with all the motivation of disgruntled Middle Eastern refugees to create their alternative view of the world that we should all live in.

You do not have to sell or transfer land; you need to restore State and Local influence over resource management in the States and Local communities where federal lands are located.  That is done by giving State governments (the one closer to the residents) certain controls or influence over federal appropriations and federal programs in their jurisdiction.  Local governments (the ones closest to the people) will influence the states actions because the Local people will control the Local government. The threat of eventually transferring the federal estate to the State is the threat if satisfactory accommodations cannot be achieved.  People that aver their trump card like this are reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain “dealing” with Hitler or Ukrainians bargaining with Stalin in the early 1930’s.)

The president-elect’s children have urged him to seize broadly on environmental conservation as a potentially defining issue for his presidency. The younger Mr. Trump has a longtime interest in preserving wilderness areas for hunting and fishing, and Mr. Zinke’s own opposition to selling off federal lands stems from his concern that it would mean less access to public lands for outdoor sports.

(See (or request) my “Rural America Needs the Electoral College” article of 1 December regarding rural harms as urban bribes.  “Environmental conservation” and “preserving wilderness” are dog whistles for the urban voters President Trump will be seeking over the next four years.  They (and the radical environmental/animal rights organizations and the current bureaucrats, professors, et al) hear more land acquisition, more land easement, more land control and more land = more authority, more jurisdiction, more budgets, more employees and more of everything down the road.)

There is something of a split in the environmental movement between those, like Messrs. Zinke and Trump Jr., who favor preserving wilderness areas mostly for hunting and fishing, and a more mainstream group that emphasizes such issues as protecting endangered species and keeping natural lands pristine.

(Well said in an urban fashion; scary to rural residents with less political heft in many states; and something that is to be resolved one way or the other.  There is no solution similar to Solomon splitting the baby to be had here.)_

Apart from the public lands issue, Mr. Zinke supports traditional GOP positions on the environment. He backed the Keystone XL pipeline, for example, and opposed a recent Interior Department rule setting standards for emissions of methane from oil and natural-gas wells on public lands.

The president-elect, following his children’s urging, is showing signs of embracing the notion of following in the footsteps of Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican president who protected roughly 230 million acres of public lands.

“Honoring the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt—believe it or not, one of our great environmentalists—we’ll also be able to preserve and protect our natural resources for the next generation, including protecting land and anglers and hunters and all of those who enjoy the outdoors like my sons Don and Eric,” Mr. Trump said earlier this month in a speech in North Carolina.

(If the implication of rivalling or exceeding TR’s acreage “protection” circa 1900 (that has ultimately turned out to be mostly “closure” and “non-management”) in a USA 100-plus years later and hundreds of millions more people more doesn’t scare you, I must admit it does me. The current federal (and many States as well) bureaucracies are no more able, willing or qualified to “preserve and protect our natural resources for the next generation, including protecting land and anglers and hunters and all of those who enjoy the outdoors” than the Little Sisters of the Poor are capable of playing the Chicago Bears,)

The younger Mr. Trump spoke at length about his interest in preservation issues, and his influence with his father when it comes to them, in an onstage interview at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership in Colorado this summer.

Outdoor groups based in Montana that have known and worked with Mr. Zinke for years and  talked him up weeks ago to the younger Mr. Trump

“With McMorris Rodgers becoming more and more real, sportsmens’ groups pushed back,” said Land Tawney, president and chief executive of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, a Montana-based group that counts the younger Mr. Trump as a lifetime member.

(This is disturbing. The TR Conservation Partnership is one of many modern such organizations that wine and dine with the bureaucracies and the radical groups while swapping jobs and grants and fostering a persona of “fighting” for (insert your group here).  Like Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited et al they spend their funds like the Clinton Foundation and send out glossies of faux accomplishments.  These groups are political hermaphrodites entertaining both Democrats and Republicans for the same end, i.e. expanding government controls by bureaucracies enforcing and regulating for their narrow interests.  One need look no further than the crickets heard from these groups for 25 years about windmills killing birds by the millions while birds by the pair at a taxidermist or one dead on the ground can get you and me put in prison unlike the Indian that killed a wolf in Minnesota not long ago and the federal government refused to prosecute. Finally, Montana has some very green organizations that masquerade as cowboy/Orvis clothes models while wielding strong political power. They seem to already be displaying a prevalent influence here.)

In summary, I do not sense any commitment for change, only more of the same.  Although I was prepared and hopeful for an Administration that could change things for far into the future by changing laws and making hard choices, I have forebodings about this and especially as McConnell is already balking about passing a stimulus as Trump had promised and Ryan is already waffling about a “wall” as Trump had promised.  What I fear is four years about arguing for short-term “feel-good” things and either four or eight years down the road the bureaucrats and long-term pols at the behest of the urban radicals will take off from where we are now with a vengeance.

Targeting the “Number” of regulations is meaningless in this government land business, unless you repeal, amend, or limit (as I suggested) these unjust laws, “reducing regulations” is no more than lipstick on a pig.  Unless you restore state and local government authorities and jurisdictions the feds will just grow and grow like that exploding fat guy John Cleese serves in the Monty Python movie, “The Meaning of Life”.  Anybody that believes that keeping this federal estate whole under the current bureaucracies’ policies will not mean LESS hunting and fishing (along with a whole lot of other harms from fires, predators and economic strangulation of the rural American economy) doesn’t deserve the right to vote in a Constitutional Republic.

We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us and to quote the Matrix movie, “he’s not the one”

Jim Beers

16 December 2016

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Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.  He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.

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