Following Zinke Resignation, Environmental Groups Equally Troubled Over Successor 

click to enlarge U.S. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR
  • U.S. Department of Interior
Some of the region's high profile environmental activist groups issued swift reactions Saturday morning to the news that Ryan Zinke was resigning as U.S. Secretary of the Interior. The New York Times reports that Zinke, a key figure in President Trump's sweeping plan to reshape the nation's environmental framework, would officially leave his past at the end of the year.

Trump confirmed the resignation via Twitter, early Saturday, writing, "Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our nation."

But Center for Western Priorities Executive Director Jennifer Rokala said that Zinke leaves behind "a lamentable legacy defined by opening large swaths of public lands tooil and gas development, cutting out the public from decision-making, and eliminating large portions of two national monuments in Utah."  Rokala added that Zinke "surrounded himself with former lobbyists" and "was a pawn for the oil and gas industry."
Zinke had become the subject of several federal investigations, including inquiries into a real estate deal involving Zinke's family and a development group backed by Halliburton Chairman David Lesar.

The Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams wrote Saturday morning that his group had even more concerns for Zinke's successor, the Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt.

"Bernhardt has made it his mission to stifle climate science and silence the public so polluters can profit," wrote Williams. "Unfortunately, even with Secretary Zinke out, the Interior Department remains disturbingly biased in favor of special interests over the health of American communities and the public lands that they love."
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