Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

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

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

Producing avocado and almond crops is having a detrimental effect on bees. Molly Aaker / Getty Images

At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An oblique (left) and dorsal (right) photo of a female Pharohylaeus lactiferous. J.B. Dorey / Journal of Hymenoptera Research

Australia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It is home to more than 7% of all the world's plant and animal species, many of which are endemic. One such species, the Pharohylaeus lactiferus bee, was recently rediscovered after spending nearly 100 years out of sight from humans.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Scientists believe sharks use bioluminescence to camouflage themselves. Jérôme Mallefet

Scientists have newly photographed three species of shark that can glow in the dark, according to a study published in Frontiers in Marine Science last month.

Read More Show Less
A FedEx truck travels along Interstate 10 by the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm near Palm Springs, California on Feb. 27, 2019. Robert Alexander / Getty Images

FedEx's entire parcel pickup and delivery fleet will become 100 percent electric by 2040, according to a statement released Wednesday. The ambitious plan includes checkpoints, such as aiming for 50 percent electric vehicles by 2025.

Read More Show Less
Empty freeways, such as this one in LA, were a common sight during COVID-19 lockdowns in spring 2020. vlvart / Getty Images

Lockdown measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic had the added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by around seven percent, or 2.6 billion metric tons, in 2020.

Read More Show Less