President Trump campaigned on a platform to make American energy great again. “We’re loaded,” he said, at a 2016 campaign appearance in North Dakota, referring to fossil fuel reserves. By unleashing those reserves and slashing regulations, Trump promised, he would usher in an era of “energy independence” and, ultimately, American energy dominance. In fact, on energy and environment, Trump is slowly making headway on those goals, with help from a trio of powerful and like-minded cabinet members.
If Ryan Zinke is modeling himself after the Conservationist President, Teddy Roosevelt, then why is he making headlines for rolling back land protections? There’s more of an answer there than you might think. This half-hour Inside Energy special is hosted by Leigh Paterson and reported by Dan Boyce.
The Department of the Interior is outlining steps aimed at increasing energy production on federal lands. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says boosting production of resources like oil and gas creates jobs and enhances the nation’s energy security. It’s another pro-industry headline for a secretary touting himself as not only an avid outdoorsman, but a follower of the conservation ideals of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. If the manager of most of our federal lands is going find inspiration from someone, it would be hard to find a more appropriate muse. “Roosevelt is generally regarded as the father of the modern conservation movement,” said Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “When he was President, he set aside somewhere around like 230 million acres of public lands for the future of people forever.”
That land area is larger than the states of Texas and Wyoming combined.
The federal government has temporarily halted coal leasing on public lands while it reviews its coal program. Forty percent of the coal mined in the United States comes from publicly-owned minerals beneath federal land, mostly in Wyoming. The government review will address whether taxpayers are getting a fair return on that coal, as well as how to square the coal program with the country’s new climate goals.
The greater sage grouse is not heading to the Endangered Species List, for now. US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell made the long-awaited announcement Tuesday in Colorado, flanked by four state governors.
Inside Energy is a collaborative journalism initiative of partners across the US and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting