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 sage grouse is back in the national discussion. The Department of Interior is loosening rules that protect the western, chicken-sized bird; recommendations include giving states more leniency in enforcing the rules and easing restrictions on land development. The two-year old conservation plan helped the sage grouse avoid an endangered listing under the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Many environmentalists are concerned the changes could spell doom for the vulnerable species.
The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument includes important Native American sites, Old West settlements, and stunning landscapes described by explorers Lewis and Clark in their journals. It also includes tens of thousands of acres of privately owned land.
President Trump has ordered a review of national monuments designated by former presidents over the past two decades. Clearly in the cross-hairs is the Bear’s Ears National Monument, created by President Obama in December of 2016. That monument was widely opposed by Utah politicians and they are asking President Trump to rescind the designation or shrink the monument size.
Inside Energy is a collaborative journalism initiative of partners across the US and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting