Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Majority of National Parks Panel Quits in Protest of Ryan Zinke

Popular
Majority of National Parks Panel Quits in Protest of Ryan Zinke
Ryan Zinke. Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Nearly all members of the National Park Service advisory panel abruptly quit on Monday in protest of the Trump administration's policies, which they say have neglected science, climate change and environmental protections.

"From all of the events of this past year I have a profound concern that the mission of stewardship, protection, and advancement of our National Parks has been set aside," the head of the panel, Tony Knowles, wrote in a letter of resignation addressed to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who oversees management of the country's national parks and monuments.


The letter was signed by nine of the panel's 12 members. The bipartisan panel was appointed by former President Obama. The terms of the members who quit were due to expire in May.

The advisory board, first authorized in 1935, advises the director of the National Park Service and the interior secretary on matters relating to the National Park Service and the National Park System.

Environmental advocates have criticized Sec. Zinke's policies, from his recommendations to President Trump to shrink and reduce protections for public lands, to opening up the nation's thousands of miles of coastline to offshore oil drilling.

"We resigned because we were deeply disappointed with the department and we were concerned," Knowles told the New York Times.

Knowles added that Sec. Zinke "appears to have no interest in continuing the agenda of science, the effect of climate change, pursuing the protection of the ecosystem."

According to the letter, the board had repeatedly tried but failed to secure a meeting with Zinke.

"[Our] requests to engage have been ignored and the matters on which we wanted to brief the new Department team are clearly not part of the agenda," the letter states.

Knowles, who has served on the board for seven years, said the board is supposed to meet twice a year but was told things were "suspended." Prior administrations met with the board immediately, he noted.

"This discourteous and disrespectful treatment of the Board is inexcusable and, unfortunately, consistent with a decidedly anti-park pattern demonstrated by Secretary Zinke's department." Phil Francis, chairman of the Coalition to Protect America's National Parks, an advocacy group of current and former national park employees, told the Times.

As for the remaining board members, the Washington Post reported:

"The three board members who did not resign include Harvard University public finance professor Linda Bilmes, University of Maryland marine science professor Rita Colwell and Carolyn Hessler Radelet, the chief executive of Project Concern International. Terms for the first two end in May, while Radelet's term does not expire until 2021.

In an email, Bilmes said she did not resign her post because she is conducting research with other colleagues funded by the National Park Foundation, and wanted to complete her project."

Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, who is the ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, offered her support of the board members who quit.

"The President still hasn't nominated a director for the National Park Service and Secretary Zinke has proposed tripling entrance fees at our most popular national parks," she said in a statement. "His disregard of the advisory board is just another example of why he has earned an 'F' in stewardship."

A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a video speech at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland on Feb. 22, 2021. Xinhua / Zhang Cheng via Getty Images

By Anke Rasper

"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less

Trending

New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

Read More Show Less
A bridge over the Delaware river connects New Hope, Pennsylvania with Lambertville, New Jersey. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Read More Show Less
Woodpecker

Colombia is one of the world's largest producers of coffee, and yet also one of the most economically disadvantaged. According to research by the national statistic center DANE, 35% of the population in Columbia lives in monetary poverty, compared to an estimated 11% in the U.S., according to census data. This has led to a housing insecurity issue throughout the country, one which construction company Woodpecker is working hard to solve.

Read More Show Less