Quantcast

Zinke Goes on Mediterranean Vacation Instead of Visiting National Monuments on Chopping Block

Popular
Ryan Zinke with Rick Perry at the Boy Scouts Jamboree. Twitter

In less than one week, Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke will submit his final recommendations to President Trump on whether 27 national monuments around the country should be downsized, eliminated, transferred to state control or left alone.

But as Aaron Weiss, the media director of the conservation group Center for Western Priorities, pointed out: "Rather than spending his final week hearing from local communities who have worked tirelessly to protect their natural and cultural heritage as national monuments, Secretary Zinke is on vacation in the Mediterranean. His wife, Lola Zinke, tweeted a picture early this morning of herself and Secretary Zinke enjoying a sunrise on the Bosphorus Strait."


Center for Western Priorities deputy director Greg Zimmerman had similar criticisms.

"Our national monuments are full of beautiful places to take a summer trip. Secretary Zinke promised a rigorous analysis of national monuments, but what the American public got was a sham review and a foreign vacation," Zimmerman said.

"If he bothered to listen, Secretary Zinke would have found that national monuments are cornerstones of Western economies, that they protect exceptional and unique lands, and, most of all, that virtually no Americans support eliminating national monuments. I worry, instead, he's moving to permanently shut down national monuments."

Under Trump's April executive order, the former Montana congressman was given 120 days determine if previous presidential administrations exceeded their authority in 27 monument designations.

According to Weiss, Zinke promised that he would listen to and engage with local communities and national monument stakeholders before permanently closing any national monuments.

However, the secretary has only stepped foot and met with stakeholders in eight of the sites and is not expected to make other visits before the Aug. 24 deadline, Weiss noted.

More than 2.7 million people flooded the government comment website saying they want the country's iconic natural and cultural landmarks to remain protected.

Public lands advocates and environmentalists worry that Zinke's final recommendations could open up national monuments for private development. Greenpeace reported in July that public records highlight that Zinke's personal schedule includes several meetings with oil and gas companies and lobbying firms including BP America, Chevron, ExxonMobil, American Petroleum Institute, Western Energy Alliance and Continental Resources.

On Thursday, a dozen protestors gathered at the U.S. Forest Service office in downtown Missoula to protest the secretary as well as the president. According to the Missoulian, they held signs that said, "Zinke is Stinke" and "Zinke Public Lands Enemy #1."

Derek Ketner, one of the demonstrators, told the publication that it was "embarrassing" that Zinke had not visited all of the monuments under review.

"It's very important and we want our views to be heard," Ketner said. "We're hoping that he will finally start listening to us."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Logging state in the U.S. is seen representing some of the consequences humans will face in the absence of concrete action to stop deforestation, pollution and the climate crisis. Mark Newman / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images

Talk is cheap, says the acting executive secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, who begged governments around the world to make sure that 2020 is not another year of conferences and empty promises, but instead is the year to take decisive action to stop the mass extinction of wildlife and the destruction of habitat-sustaining ecosystems, as The Guardian reported.

Read More
The people of Kiribati have been under pressure to relocate due to sea level rise. A young woman wades through the salty sea water that flooded her way home on Sept. 29, 2015. Jonas Gratzer / LightRocket via Getty Images

Refugees fleeing the impending effects of the climate crisis cannot be forced to return home, according to a new decision by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, as CNN reported. The new decision could open up a massive wave of legal claims by displaced people around the world.

Read More
Sponsored
The first day of the Strike WEF march on Davos on Jan. 18, 2020 near Davos, Switzerland. The activists want climate justice and think the WEF is for the world's richest and political elite only. Kristian Buus / In Pictures via Getty Images

By Ashutosh Pandey

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg is returning to the Swiss ski resort of Davos for the 2020 World Economic Forum with a strong and clear message: put an end to the fossil fuel "madness."

Read More
Protesters attend a rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court held by the group Our Children's Trust Oct. 29, 2018 in Washington, DC. The group and the plaintiffs have vowed to keep fighting and to ask the full Ninth Circuit to review Friday's decision to toss the lawsuit. Win McNamee / Getty Images

An appeals court tossed out the landmark youth climate lawsuit Juliana v. United States Friday, arguing that the courts are not the place to resolve the climate crisis.

Read More
The land around Red Knoll near Kanab, UT that could have been razed for a frac sand mine. Tara Lohan

By Tara Lohan

A sign at the north end of Kanab, Utah, proclaims the town of 4,300 to be "The Greatest Earth on Show."

Read More